Highlands Ranch officials broke ground on the upcoming $16.5 million senior center on Sept. 19 with the goal of opening doors in January 2024.
The 20,000 square-foot community space for people over 55 will include a Douglas County Health and Human Services satellite office, a fitness area, meeting rooms, a large kitchen and more. It’s located on Highlands Ranch Parkway next to Mountainview Christian Church.
“The Highlands Ranch Senior Center will serve as opportunity to connect older adults to with vital community services with the goal of helpinhg them say active and independent,” Highlands Ranch Metro District Interim General Manager Stephanie Stanley said at the groundbreaking. “The programs offered will expand upon current programs to specifically address the needs and interests of participants aged 55 and older.”
The Highlands Ranch Metro District Board of Directors is expected to approve a contract for sitework at their October meeting, and the district is planning for building construction to begin before December. The project is estimated to cost the district around $16.5 million, which will be paid using fees collected by the metro district on development.
Mark Dickerson, the chair of the metro district’s board of directors, noted the senior center is the largest project done by the metro district.
“The project represents the evolution of our 41 year old community,” he said.
Once open, the senior center will run on a membership model with drop-in availability, Tammy Tucker, Director of Parks, Recreation and Open Space for the metro district, said in an interview with Colorado Community Media. Details of the fees for various programs have yet to be finalized.
Tucker is planning to host community input sessions throughout construction to gather feedback on what types of programming to offer, such as art classes, certain fitness sessions or educational talks.
“We’re going to ask (seniors) to come and tell us what programs and classes and thing they actually want and what they’ll actually show up for,” she said. “It’s not what we think they want.”
A portion of the senior center will be dedicated to Douglas County Health and Human Services, which will offer Medicaid assistance, SNAP and food assistance, adult financial programs and an accessible place to pick up an EBT card. However, Tucker noted the senior center won’t offer medical care and isn’t residential.
The goal of the facility is to offer a centralized location for senior resources, activities and socialization as the number of residents over 55 continues to grow in Highlands Ranch. It will also provide space for existing groups, like the Highlands Ranch Senior Club and Active Adults, to meet and expand.
“It’s a place for seniors to go and do the things they’re interested in, which really isn’t currently available,” Tucker said.
On the day of the groundbreaking, Dickerson, thanked the crowd of around 75 people, including Douglas County Commissioners Abe Laydon and Lora Thomas, for the ongoing support for the project.
“This turn out proves what I’ve been saying, that we are ready to make these changes to serve our senior population,” he said. “We’re excited about the needs that will be met by this facility.”
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