Draper • In recently moving from an old building that must now feel like a cramped closet, the senior citizens in Draper are now enjoying a state-of-the-art facility that is attracting patrons from all over the Salt Lake Valley.
The Draper Senior Center, which opened in November and had its official groundbreaking on Dec. 20, has more than 21,000 square feet of space, which is a far cry from the 5,000 square foot building it used to occupy. The new center, located at 12350 S. 800 East in Draper, also has just about everything that can advance seniors physically, mentally and emotionally.
"The seniors have waited a long time for this building," said Cyndi McCarty, manager at the center in Draper. "A lot of our seniors were going to the center in Sandy for activities before, but with the new building, they are starting to come back."
There is plenty of space for more people to come visit the center in Draper and more than enough activities to suit everyone.
The new center has a group exercise room for classes and individual workout areas with machines that cater to older individuals so seniors don't have to keep changing weights back and forth. There are two large areas, one for dining and the other for relaxing and playing games, and both rooms have a cozy feeling with a fireplace in each room. There are the game rooms with billiard and ping-pong tables and even a place to test out an artistic side with ceramics and painting space available.
McCarty was able to create a committee before construction that gave ideas about what they wanted in a senior center and the construction catered to specific needs.
"I had a group of seniors that gave input on the new building and a ton of research was done," McCarty said. "It is a modern center, and the seniors are loving it. They actually call the place more of a social club than a senior center."
Seniors Jerry Pearson and Sherryl Allan both attended the old senior center in Draper and are now enjoying the new building with all that comes with it.
"This new center is so big that you can almost get lost in it," the 73-year old Pearson said. "The exercise center in this building is about the same size as our last center."
Allan is not only a regular at the center but she also teaches classes on how to knit and crochet in Draper. She is also seeing new faces coming into the building.
"I meet someone new every time I come in," Allan said, while knitting at the same time. "I also like that the stage is right in the lounging area because before we would have to herd everyone in to see shows."
As public relations coordinator for the Salt Lake County aging services, Ken Venables knows that state-of-the-art buildings like in Draper help to buck the negative connotation of senior centers.
"A lot of people when they hear of senior centers ask how many beds are in it, confusing it with an assisted living center," Venables said. "The building in Draper is one example of how senior centers will be built in the future and we couldn't be more proud of the building."