October 27, 2021

Lymes’ Senior Center Renovation/Expansion Project Moves Forward, Preferred Option Selected for Further Evaluation

The exterior of the Lymes’ Senior Center on Town Woods Rd. in Old Lyme. A feasibility study is currently underway regarding the renovation and possible expansion of the Center. 

OLD LYME — The Lymes’ Senior Center (LSC) Board of Directors (BOD) held a special public meeting Aug. 4, to conduct the second stakeholder workshop for the architectural feasibility study for the renovation and possible expansion of the Lymes’ Senior Center. 

We sat down recently with Jeri Baker, Chair of the Lymes’ Senior Center BOD, to understand where the project currently stands and its future direction.

She talked initially about the selection of Point One Architects of Old Lyme to carry out the feasibility study, saying, “So far in the process, our involvement with this architectural firm has been exceptional. 

Baker continued, “The mission of this center as a municipal agency is to provide services that promote a healthy lifestyle and to focus on the physical, social, emotional and creative needs of our members,” explaining, “When you have one of the largest demographic of these two communities served well, the rest of community benefits from that.”

She then said emphatically, “Point One Architects gets that [about the Senior Center and the community it serves] … they get us.”

Baker added that this positive situation, “Reaffirms the unanimous decision of the building committee [to choose Point One Architects], which was based on [the committee’s criteria of] the selected firm being highly accessible and innovative in their design approach. We interviewed other firms that had great credentials — Point One just stood out for their design credentials … being local was a plus.”

Point One Architects of Old Lyme presented three options of a renovated and expanded Senior Center at the last Special Public Meeting, held Aug. 4.

Commenting that the workshop had offered three visual options of possible future renovated space of the center. Baker noted, “It has always been important that any plan reflects both the right scale and proportions of space and also maintains the character of our towns. We have stressed that our Center must feel like home, not an institution.”

The diagrams presented were based on the vision and input of the results of the first workshop in July and reflected the three key priorities of

  • additional, but flexible space
  • accessibility
  • reconfiguration of existing space.

In order to further engage the participants, there was a lengthy period to discuss each option and then address questions and concerns.

At the conclusion, participants voted for the diagram they felt met their vision, needs and possible reasonable costs. The preferred design was overwhelmingly Option 3, which was discussed in more detail at the August public meeting of the Lymes’ Senior Center Building Committee. Any future plans developed by the firm will reflect the input of the two workshops, meetings with the Center Director and the building committee and any constituents, who have reached out to the committee.

Noting that the Center not only, “Serves two communities [Lyme and Old Lyme],” but also, “One of the largest demographics in the community,” Baker stressed, “We’re here for the whole community.” She emphasized, “We must destroy the stereotype that it [the Senior Center] is only a place to play cards,” concluding passionately, “We’re so much more.”

Editor’s Note: Reflecting a broad range of interests and responsibilities across both Lyme and Old Lyme, workshop participants included:

  • Jeri Baker – chair of the LSC BOD and Building Committee
  • Don Abraham – treasurer of the BOD and building committee member
  • Kathy Lockwood – vice chair of the BOD
  • Doris Hungerford – Lyme BOD member
  • Jane Folland – OL BOD member and active volunteer
  • Jackie Roberts – OL BOD member and active volunteer
  • Diana Seckla – Lyme BOD member and member of Friends of the Lymes’ Senior Center
  • David Griswold- OL BOD member and Commander of the VFW post housed at the center
  • Jeremy Crisp –  newest Lyme BOD member
  • Susan Campbell _ OL BOD member and past chair
  • Paula Emery – Recording secretary for the BOD
  • Joan Bonvicin – OL LSC member and active volunteer
  • Denise Piersa – Old Lyme Town Nurse/VNA, whose office is in the Center

Lymes’ Senior Center Director Stephanie Gould and LSC member Doris Johnson were unable to attend the Aug. 4 meeting, but are usually in attendance. Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal attended the July meeting but was unable to attend the August one.

Also:

  • Cheryl Parsons assistant to the Director
  • Bethany Haslam – dance instructor
  • Lynn McCarthy – yoga instructor
  • Jude Read – OL BOF member and liaison to the LSC budget development (absent for this session but updated by  Jeri Baker afterward).
  • Gary Weed – retired board member 
  • Carole Weed – Gary’s wife
  • Carole Diffley – Meals on Wheels coordinator/kitchen manager/Estuary Council employee

LSC Building Committee members and public attendance (Zoom included):

  • Mary Stone
  • Arthur “Skip” Beebe
  • Ken Biega

Speak Your Mind

*