Iowa City Senior Center renovation over budget

The Senior Center Master Plan is currently over budget and exploring fundraising opportunities. The master plan will include renovations to the exterior of the current building and interior renovations that will promote accessibility.


Gabby Drees

OPN Architects project architect Josh Moe speaks at an Iowa City City Council meeting at City Hall in Iowa City on Tuesday, April 19, 2022.

Emily Delgado, News Reporter

A planned renovation of the Iowa City Senior Center is over budget.

The Iowa City City Council will not provide additional money out of the city’s budget to renovate the Senior Center, but will help the center find additional fundraising options for its master plan, which will provide better facilities for community members.  This project will be the first renovation of the senior center in 40 years, City Councilor John Thomas said.

This plan will consist of improvements to the senior center kitchen, elevator, and floor plans.

The design plan is $7 million over the current budget the city council has given the Senior Center Master Plan, Senior Center Coordinator LaTasha DeLoach said at the council’s April 19 work session.

“Hopefully there’s some additional funding, $6 [million], $8 million in fundraising, probably not realistic in this case, but there’s definitely been some value-added fundraising that we can pursue to continue to make the center the attraction that it is,” Iowa City City Manager Geoff Fruin said.

The Senior Center Master Plan has been in the works since 2019, DeLoach said.

“The Senior Center Master Plan is going to be a community changing opportunity for us here at the city,” DeLoach said. “It will include renovations that will draw more individuals, I believe, into the space and allow us to be able to serve our population and populations to come in the future and in a much more accessible way.”

Blank said the master plan will allow for community involvement within the center.

The plan will be broken into three stages, the first being exterior and interior renovation. New floor plans are currently being developed for the building.

Councilor Pauline Taylor said she believes community members will come out to participate in fundraising for the senior center.

“Our community comes out when we need it,” Taylor said.

The Senior Center Master Plan exists as a sub-project under the Iowa City City Council’s Capital Improvement Plan and will cost $2,720,000.

The five-year Capital Improvement Plan involves numerous divisions within the city, including parks maintenance, street operations, and airport.

Joshua Moe, the Senior Center contractor from OPN Architects, said a good renovation can still be done with a small budget, but a better one could be achieved with a larger budget.

“With a smaller budget and a smaller project, there’d be still a meaningful renovation to the building,” Moe said. “But you will miss an opportunity to completely reinvent systems which are deriving energy.”

The main goal of the masterplan is to improve the overall facilities of the Senior Center and make the building more accessible, which the Senior Center hopes to accomplish.

“In a meeting with the Senior Center staff, we learned a lot about what their needs were,” Moe said. “Accessibility, accessibility, accessibility is key to this group.”

One of the renovations will consist of the addition of another elevator to the building, a change Moe wanted.

Based on the amount of needed renovation to the current Senior Center building, senior center staff has considered the possibility of a new building.

“We thought about looking at other locations, so we’re just going to take a moment and look at it but we’re completely committed to the current location,” DeLoach said. “A due diligence, right? making sure that we’re just following up knowing that it’s such a large amount of money that if there’s some other options that we go ahead and look at.”

Taylor agreed the senior center should stay in its current location but appreciates the senior center staff’s diligence to explore other options.

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