The Northern Wake Senior Center is one step closer to an expansion.
The Wake Forest Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Sept. 20 to spend $305,000 to buy a 1.7-acre tract next to the senior center. Now the design phase will begin on the project, which will nearly double the center’s size.
The project was part of a 2014 bond referendum approved by voters which earmarked $3.1 million for the senior center and $11.1 million for upgrades at Joyner Park.
Newly acquired land will allow the town to expand parking for visitors to the senior center, said Mickey Rochelle, Wake Forest’s facilities director.
The new building will feature exercise and craft rooms and a computer lab, Rochelle said. Hale Architecture is designing the facility.
Currently, the Northern Wake Senior Center is about 8,600 square feet, and the addition is expected to add 8,000 square feet, Rochelle said.
An expansion will help meet the needs of a growing community, said Pandora Schmid-Gill, the center’s program assistant. The center now has more than 5,000 members.
“We have on average between 40 and 60 new members each month, and we’re just growing like crazy,” Schmid-Gill said. “It’s a big deal for us. We’ve already built onto this building once.”
Weekly programming includes aerobics, Zumba, yoga, dance and painting classes. There’s often not enough space to fit everyone.
“If we have a party, we have to hold it at the Renaissance Centre,” Schmid-Gill said.
Town Commissioner Brian Pate said he’s pleased the senior center will soon get the space it needs.
“It’s over capacity as it is,” he said. “So we’re happy to be moving to the next phase to expand it.”
Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi