Bigger senior population outgrowing Grand Forks north side facility

Audrey Lunde, a cook at the Grand Forks Senior Center, serves the evening meal Tuesday Sep. 23, 2013 in the center’s cramped kitchen. Photo credit: John Stennes/Grand Forks Herald.

Story by John Hageman

The Grand Forks Senior Center is looking for a second home.
Colette Iseminger, the organization’s executive director, said Tuesday they are negotiating with two landowners for a site for the new facility. She did not disclose the potential locations, citing the sensitivity of the negotiations, but did confirm they are looking at the south side of town.

Iseminger said the Senior Center’s board of directors hopes to make a decision by the end of the year.

“We’ve outgrown this building,” Iseminger said of its current location at 620 Fourth Ave. S., which was constructed in 1977. The Senior Center will still occupy that building after the new location opens, Iseminger added.

“We have many things we can’t do because we have no space for them.”Iseminger cited the large number of people who will reach the age of 65 in the next decade as a reason the center needs more space. There were 6,959 people living in Grand Forks County between the ages of 55 and 64, according to the 2010 Census.

Clients sit down to dinner Tuesday evening Sep. 24, 2013 at the Grand Forks Senior Center. Photo credit: John Stennes/Grand Forks Herald.

That’s compared to 6,903 people ages 65 and older.

“So we have the potential to have double the number of clients in the next 10 years that we currently have,” Iseminger said. “We see what’s currently coming down the pike, and we’re already bursting at the seams.”

She said the Senior Center began exploring the possibility of another facility about three years ago. Iseminger said having another location will give them an opportunity to start new classes and services.

She added that the potential location of the proposed facility offers easy access to amenities like Choice Health and Fitness.

“We want to be closer to things that our seniors are going to want to use,” Iseminger said, adding that she hopes a shuttle service will be available between the north and south locations.

Iseminger said the new facility will be located in a new building rather than an existing one. She said they will launch a capital campaign to raise funds, and hope to break ground in 2017 or 2018.

“It really depends on how the fundraising goes,” Iseminger said. “We’d really like to be in there by 2018, because that’s when we know we’re going to be seeing more and more clients.”

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