Westerville is inching closer to the beginning of a $20 million renovation and expansion of its community center, adding such cutting-edge amenities as an eSports room, an "adventure fitness" space and a Food Network-style demonstration kitchen.
But the scope of the work isn't limited to benefits for the younger portion of the Westerville community.
With the expansion comes a new home for the Westerville Senior Center and perhaps a chance to grow and change the organization.
Once the city expands the community center at 350 N. Cleveland Ave. -- construction is expected to run between October and late 2019 -- a portion of the new space will be dedicated to housing the senior center, which currently sits at 310 W. Main St.
Parks and recreation director Randy Auler said the new location should provide more than double the existing space of the senior center, and will allow the Westerville Senior Association to grow.
"It's going to serve the community's needs much better than we're able to do now, and we'll be able to accommodate all existing programs, as well as expand those programs," he said.
Lloyd Kuschner, a former member of the Senior Center Advisory Board and a regular organizer of senior-center events, said he expects the move to be a major positive for Westerville seniors.
"I think everybody's going to be happy, and I think we'll increase our membership quite a bit," he said. "It's not that the current location is bad, but it wasn't built to be a senior center."
The seniors' new space will feature more parking and better accommodations for seniors driving themselves or being dropped off at the facility, and Auler promised a variety of new amenities.
Large meeting rooms will allow events to be held in a more suitable location, while a billiard room, a therapy pool, a lounge space and other additions will supplement their recreational space.
Kuschner said he expected seniors to be excited about the new kitchen space, which he said would seem "state-of-the-art" to the group.
"A lot of the equipment we have now is quite old, so everything will be new," he said. "The older people love to eat; they love their comfort food. And I would guess it will at least double our patronage for eating."
One major change for the seniors will be moving away from having an exclusive space to themselves.
Unlike at their current location, Auler said the new space will largely be "integrated" with the rest of the community center. The senior center will have its own spaces, but won't be isolated and will share amenities, meeting rooms and other spaces.
"With older adults when they're at the existing community center on a daily basis, particularly in programs and interacting, it gives an opportunity for socialization and inter-generational programming," Auler said. "So I don't foresee any challenges."
Kuschner said he could understand any trepidation over not having an exclusive building, but he thinks the positives outweigh any negatives, and is looking forward to having the same building for his workouts and his senior-center duties.
"And when we're done at 5 o'clock, they can use some of our space, which I think is great, rather than having it go to waste," he said. "Everything we have, we're not afraid to share it."
For updates and planning documents for the community center expansion, visit www.Westerville.org.