Planning launched for new Edmonds Senior Center building

This aerial photo from the early 1960s shows the buildings that comprise today's Edmonds Senior Center. The Surf and Sand Marina is the two-story section, and the single-story section extends toward it from the top of the old Ford Dome. These two structures were joined in 1980 to form the building that houses the Senior Center today.  The Ford Dome was moved to Edmonds from the Seattle World's Fair site and used for several years as a boat showroom before being demolished. (Photo courtesy of Edmonds Historical Museum).

This aerial photo from the early 1960s shows the buildings that comprise today’s Edmonds Senior Center. The Surf and Sand Marina is the two-story section, and the single-story section extends toward it from the top of the old Ford Dome. These two structures were joined in 1980 to form the building that houses the Senior Center today. The Ford Dome was moved to Edmonds from the Seattle World’s Fair site and used for several years as a boat showroom before being demolished. (Photo courtesy of Edmonds Historical Museum).

An overflow crowd gathered in the Edmonds Senior Center ballroom on Tuesday afternoon to hear Senior Center officials kick off a campaign that could mean a new Senior Center building as early as 2017.

“This is the first meeting to discuss the possibility of a new building,” said Patsy Ethridge-Neal, Board of Directors President. “We’re still very early in the process, and we will be having regular meetings to keep the membership updated.” The next meeting is planned for March.

Senior Center Executive Director Farrell Fleming presents the plan to move forward with a feasibility study to the Senior Center membership.

Senior Center Executive Director Farrell Fleming presents the plan to move forward with a feasibility study to the Senior Center membership. (Photo by Larry Vogel)

Executive Director Farrell Fleming stressed that while the idea of a new building has been in the works for some time, a number of factors including the current favorable economic situation present a golden opportunity to move forward now.

The existing waterfront facility at 220 Railroad Avenue, built in the early 1960s, has serious structural problems including a sinking first floor, inefficient design and seismic concerns.

The Senior Center began in 1968 when two buildings, a two-story warehouse and a single story former boat showroom, were used as a venue for their programs. The City of Edmonds acquired the land and buildings in 1972, and in 1980 the two structures were connected to form the 28,000-square-foot space occupied by the Senior Center today.

The Senior Center today shows the original two-story warehouse building (left) connected to the old single-story former boat showroom.  The buildings are deteriorating, the first floor is sinking, and significant seismic upgrades are needed. (Photo courtesy of Edmonds Senior Center).

The Senior Center today shows the original two-story warehouse building (left) connected to the old single-story former boat showroom. The buildings are deteriorating, the first floor is sinking, and significant seismic upgrades are needed. (Photo courtesy of Edmonds Senior Center).

“In 2007 our Strategic Planning Committee had three independent professional engineers look at the building and develop options,” said Fleming. “All three agreed that refurbishing the present building would be too costly.” He went on to explain that to just level the first floor and do the necessary seismic upgrades would cost $3 million (2007 estimate). This leaves “band aiding” the current building as it deteriorates further, or building a new Senior Center as the only viable options.

“For the next five to six months we’ll be doing a feasibility study,” Fleming said. “This will address preliminary concerns including legal considerations, necessary agreements with City, architectural options, a fundraising-capital campaign, and community input.” Pending the outcome of this, the Senior Center could then move forward with siting, design, permitting, etc.

While it’s still early in the process and much is left to be decided, some decisions have already been made.

“Our ultimate goal is to build a new state-of-the-art ‘Edmonds kind of senior center’ on the current site,” said Fleming. “The structure will be sited and designed to take full advantage of the magnificent views.”

If all goes without a hitch, the new Edmonds Senior Center could be ready for use as early as 2017.

– Story by Larry Vogel

 

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6 Comments

  1. This was an encouraging meeting, dispelling rumors of the center being moved from the site. I am looking forward to future information on what the feasibility study shows.

  2. Continuing growth BNSF rail traffic through Edmonds (including additional hazardous coal and oil trains) is going to further degrade dependable vehicle access to the current senior center site. This will also put reliable fire and rescue vehicle response to the senior center at risk. Unless a new above or below grade vehicle access route to the waterfront is built first, other site options must be considered. In addition, if the current site is chosen, the cost of removing the current creosote bulkhead protected 10 stall parking area (in to order restore high tide public beach access and salmon habitat), must be also included in the project.

  3. I attended yesterday’s meeting and I was very impressed by the presentation and information that Farrell Fleming and his associates shared with us.
    It was a heavily attended meeting, from where I was sitting I would say about 200 or more listened to the future plans for the center. I hope that we will all get behind this project and support it in any way we can. A great deal of time and effort has gone into it already at this nascent stage by the committee as was evident from their very well informed answers to the questions from the audience, and there were many.
    Thank you all for your work , time and interest in our behalf.
    I look forward to serving in any way that I can.

    Ingrid Wolsk

  4. I, feel,with all the great support,that was generated yesterday,” EDMONDS SENIOR CENTER’S TIME IS NOW!!!!!!” Let’s PUT OUR MONEY WHERE OUR MOUTH IS”……

  5. I’m glad I can contribute through my employer’s giving campaign.

  6. Beckwith Consulting Group prepared the City’s Strategic Plan. Mr. Beckwith stated that ALL of the 86 actions/objectives listed in the report are IMPORTANT regardless of ranking. There are two actions specifically related to the Senior Ctr: Action 3a.1(41a) and Action 3a.15(41b). The presentation addressed only Action 3a.1 (41a) “Develop long term solution for maintaining and updating the Senior Center.” Action 3a.15(41b) objective is “Relocate the Senior Center to another location.” It is imperative that both of these issues be addressed and included in the feasibility studies.
    Other: Is the property a designated City Park? I like many others thought it was.. until former Mayor Gary Haakenson emphatically stated at one of the Board Meetings, “It is NOT a City Park.”
    Asi es la vida!

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