City staff in Richardson are preparing for a complete overhaul of its senior center, slated to take place next year.
The facility is located in central Richardson at Arapaho Road and West Shore Drive.
Design plans, presented May 6 to City Council, increase the size of existing areas as well as add new rooms and amenities while also addressing issues related to parking, security and accessibility. Staff hopes a budget of $6.8 million will be enough to pay for the planned upgrades, said Lori Smeby, the director of the Richardson Parks and Recreation Department.
In October, the city hosted an open house to hear what seniors would like to see from the renovation. Top priorities included an enlarged fitness room, an improved kitchen layout, better accessibility to the front entrance, upgraded technology and more.
The city was able to satisfy most of those demands in its design plan, created by architecture firm PGAL.
Features of the design plan include:
- Bigger fitness room
- Enlarged dining and kitchen area
- Open floor plan that also takes into account acoustical concerns
- Two large, multipurpose rooms with movable walls
- Bigger classrooms
- Expansion and amenitization of men's and women's restrooms
- Covered porte-cochere at entrance of facility
- Enclosed lobby with improved check-in
- Sealed vestibule waiting area
- New outdoor courtyard
As of now, the senior center lacks a dedicated reception area, Smeby said, which makes some first-time guests apprehensive upon entrance. The new lobby area will create a comfortable space where desk staff can provide information, accept deliveries and know who is coming in and out.
"There's no sense of arrival in the current building," she said. "When you're brand new, there is no sense of comfort because you're right in the middle of everything."
The dining and fitness rooms will also feature glass storefront windows where users can look onto the new courtyard, which will be landscaped and amenitized with benches, Smeby said.
The parking lot that faces Arapaho Road will be removed to encourage use of the drive-up porte-cochere, but the northside parking lot will remain. Also in the plans is a grading at the front entrance, which will eliminate the need for stairs or ramps.
The next open house is scheduled for May 8. Design will be complete at the end of this year, allowing construction to begin in early- to mid-2020. Activities and programs will be moved while renovations are underway. Smeby said a relocation plan will be finalized this summer.