The new senior center is rapidly taking shape, as workers plug away at the two-story building, to be located at Hillside Avenue and West Street.
Now representatives from the Needham Council on Aging have proposed a name for the new building: The Center at Needham Heights.
“We listened to a lot of people’s ideas, and the consensus was to leave the ‘senior center’ out of it, because everyone’s probably going to call it that anyway,” said Steve Cadigan, a member of the Friends of the Needham Elderly.
The name refers to the location of the new building and also might help attract those members of the community who don’t consider themselves “seniors,” Cadigan said.
Selectmen are expected to vote on the name at their next meeting.
The building itself is coming along, according to Council on Aging Executive Director Jamie Brenner Gutner.
“It’s coming along beautifully,” she said of the 20,000 sq. ft. building. “It’s on timeline and on target. We should be in there by next fall, October of 2013.”
Holliston-based Colantonio Inc. is managing construction of the new senior center.
Efforts to raise funds for all the building’s bells and whistles are also moving along. A cocktail fundraiser is coming up on Oct. 17 at the and could be the final push toward the $600,000 goal.
“When the town voted to for the project, as a part of that budget discussion, certain items were taken out of the project costs in order to make sure that it could be met within the capacity of the town’s debt service,” said Jim Healy, a former selectman and current co-chair of the fundraising event along with Louise Miller.
As promised, once the funding was approved at Town Meeting, a committee was formed to raise the additional funds necessary to restore the extra items as well as to fund new items designed to enrich the experience of the residents using the new center, Healy said. “Enrichment” items include more fitness equipment, audio/visual materials, computers and landscaping as well as materials to outfit the building’s second-floor exterior roof deck.
“We started raising funds almost immediately after the Town Meeting vote occurred and raised about $100,000 right off the bat,” Healy said of the Friends of the Needham Elderly Fundraising Committee.
The committee has also secured some funding through the state budget, with help from State Representative Denise Garlick, and they recently learned that principal sponsor has offered a generous gift as well. The amount of that gift will be announced at the Oct. 17 fundraiser, Healy said.
“We’re getting very, very close to our goal of $600,000, so one of the goals of the Oct. 17 fundraiser is to try to get to the top if it’s possible,” Healy said.
The cocktail party will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 17 from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Needham Golf Club and will feature refreshments, silent and live auctions and a video presentation on the project. Selectmen will be the event’s special guest servers.
“It will just be a fun night, and hopefully we’ll be able to increase our momentum as we sprint toward the conclusion of this fundraising goal,” Healy said.
Tickets cost $50 each and can be purchased by calling the at 781-455-7555 or Fundraising Committee member Colleen Schaller at 781-444-8367.
What do you think of the proposed name for the new senior center, The Center at Needham Heights? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.