Senior center moves meals to Elks

by nathan oster

With renovations underway in their own building, South Big Horn County Senior Citizens has begun serving meals at the Greybull Elks Lodge.

The first lunches were served there on Tuesday, Sept. 13 and it’s unknown how long the senior center will be unavailable while a new HVAC system, ceiling and light fixtures are being installed throughout the building.

Cynthia Johnson, the executive director of the senior center, said the only change for seniors will be the setting. It won’t be the first time that the senior center used the Elks as its temporary home; Johnson said meals were served there while a new kitchen was put in at the center.

“It’s old hat for us, except for the fact that this time, we won’t have to move everything out of our kitchen,” said Johnson. “It won’t be quite so bad.”

Big Horn County, which owns the senior center, got a grant to pay for some of the renovations this time around. The rest will be covered with funding generated by the senior center’s mill levy.

The senior center has been using the HVAC system that was put in when the building was constructed in the late 1970s.   A hot water system, it frequently leaks, Johnson said, adding, that it’s become increasing difficult to get parts for it.

Knowing that the HVAC system would eventually need to be replaced, the center held off until now on upgrades to the ceiling and lighting fixtures. Johnson said everything is going to be done at the same time. The removal of the existing ceiling tiles and lighting fixtures has already begun.

The center is getting four furnaces and four air conditioner units which will allow staff members and visitors to have greater control over the building’s climate. Whereas until now there has been one control for the whole building, the new system will be set up to heat and cool in zones.

Johnson is also excited about the new ceiling, which in addition to looking better will also improve acoustics, and lighting fixtures. “It’s going to be awesome,” she said.

Johnson said she doesn’t know how long the project at the senior center is going to take — just that “we have to be out of the Elks by Nov. 7, which is general election day. That’s the day we’re shooting for. Everything has to be done before that.”

As for activities, the center has suspended some while moving others like yoga and chair yoga to the Elks. Staff members will continue to work at the center while the renovations are taking place, Johnson said, although it will be messy and they won’t have heat or air conditioning. “We’re praying for a mild fall,” she laughed.