Douglas County residents will be able to explore the inside of the community and senior center they have watched being built for more than a year on Dec. 6.
Commissioner Greg Lynn announced Thursday that the community and senior center will open more than five months early and more than $10,000 under the proposed $16.9 million construction budget.
“We made better progress than we thought we would,” Lynn said. “We had a mild winter which allowed us to make a lot more progress. The stonework was able to be done that they budgeted a lot more time for. They were able to work through it.”
Core Construction was credited for its help in keeping the project under budget as well as for finishing well before the original opening goal of April 2015.
“They really did a bang up job. They were absolutely wonderful to work with, “ Lynn said.
The grand opening will showcase the building’s 83,000 square feet housing a full-size double gymnasium, jogging track, fitness facility, two racket ball courts, seven activity rooms, a preschool room, community health nurse facility, senior and adult daycare, grand senior dining room, lounge, gift shop and administrative offices.
Lynn did not volunteer to be so involved with the project, but has taken on the assignment whole-heartedly.
“They wanted a board presence on the project and I am a builder by trade,” Lynn said. “I was given this assignment to prevent issues from becoming problems and that included going over budget.”
The doors will be open, but the finishing touches will be put in place at a later date.
The Douglas County Community Service Foundation and Young at Heart have raised $500,000 since 2011 to furnish senior and community centers in Douglas County.
“I want to praise Young At Heart for striving to build the building fund after all this time,” president of the foundation Bob Cook said. “This donation will completely deplete the fund, but Young At Heart has done a great job raising money through programs like the ‘Buy a Brick’.”
Cook presented a $153,686 donation to the commission on Thursday, that was approved to furnish the new center’s kitchens.
“You have to appreciate that a lot of the finish on the inside walls still needs to be done when we are open, like the curtains and things. The amenities are not in the budget, but we knew that,” Lynn said. “I simply decided if we are completely functional, why not? No point in letting the building sit empty. The gym will be done and functional, and the running track will be up and running.”
Dec. 6 is the day that the contractors are officially done and the building will be in the possession of Douglas County.
“We didn’t anticipate that. We were expecting them to go into February before we would get the building,” Lynn said. “There is more to getting it as finished as possible than meets the eye. This is a more sophisticated, multipurpose building that requires more work for the Internet and phone systems.”
While Lynn works on getting the technicals in place, Cook and the foundation will continue to raise funds for things like wall and flooring coverings and gym and kitchen equipment.
“Its all going to take time to finish, but it will all come in time,” Cook said. “Right now we want people to be able to come in and enjoy it. This center will have so much to offer the community; it will be the center of the community. I think people will move to Douglas County just because of this facility. This and the good schools will really draw people to Douglas County.”
The grand opening on Dec. 6 is open to the public.