The new Powell Senior Center is starting to take shape, and the people spearheading the effort want the Powell community to be in the loop as it comes to fruition. If they manage to secure the …
The new Powell Senior Center is starting to take shape, and the people spearheading the effort want the Powell community to be in the loop as it comes to fruition. If they manage to secure the funding, it could break ground next year.
“I think this would be very beneficial to seniors, our community and our community partners,” said Cathy Florian, program director for the Powell Senior Center.
They’ve contracted a grant writer and are navigating the grant makers’ requirements to find the right fit for Powell’s new center.
“There’s so many hoops you have to jump through, but it’s starting to gel,” said Steve Martin, chairman of the Powell Senior Center Board of Directors.
Besides grant funding, the center is pursuing private donations. Last December, a raffle raised $12,000 toward the effort.
The $4.3 million facility would expand the current space from about 5,800 square feet to about 8,000. Everything will be on a single level, eliminating the need for elevators and stairs.
The new facility will be located on the northwest corner of the property, next to the Rocky Mountain Manor. Center leaders are working out a legal contract with the manor for the deed of the property.
While changes in plans are likely, the specs for the new facility include a telehealth center. This approach to healthcare is becoming more common, as it reduces travel and expands accessibility of services. The new facility’s telehealth center will help facilitate online interactions between patients and providers.
It will also have more digital space, which will help seniors communicate with friends and loved ones, and the game room will accommodate up to 30 people at once. It will also have a kitchenette to prepare drinks and snacks.
Florian said the design is largely complete. They continue to work on some of the interior details, as well as the landscaping.
The current facility on North Gilbert Street was built in the 1960s, or perhaps the 1970s — long before the Americans with Disabilities Act mandated elevators, ramps and wider doorways in public buildings to make them accessible to the disabled.
This means the second story and basement — where the exercise equipment is located — is accessible only by stairs, which many elderly residents cannot use. The center also rents out medical equipment, and items are stored between three rooms, requiring a rather difficult process to locate a requested item, retrieve it and bring it to the client.
Besides placing everything on a single floor, the new facility was designed with more consideration of traffic flows. How people will move through the dining area should be a lot smoother, and the same goes for staff movements in the kitchen prep areas.
“It’s still a work in progress, but it’s coming along,” Florian said.
Powell’s elderly population is growing as people retire and remain in the community — a pattern seen across Wyoming. Space is running out at the current center, with demand continuing to rise.
It’s not just an increase in the number of seniors living in Powell, Martin said. Younger people move away after school, leaving seniors with fewer family members in the area. This makes Powell’s elderly more dependent on the center’s services.
“In my time, everybody stayed where they were born. We’re a very mobile society now,” Martin said.
The current Powell Senior Center has been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Center leaders considered the possibility of reopening in July, but a surge in cases this summer made them reconsider. Now the plan is to have a look at things in September, but it’s likely going to be later in the fall before that happens.
“This was their place to come and visit and have some time out of their homes,” Martin said.
Anyone wishing to donate to the new facility or to volunteer their time to serve seniors can call 307-754-4223.