The Van Alstyne Senior Center, located at 148 S. Main St., has undergone renovations with further plans for upgrades in current discussion.


Bob Sanford, the Chair of the Senior Center Board, announced that the facelift for the front entrance of the building has been completed. The center received a grant from the Van Alstyne Community Development Corporation to aid in the cost, and selected Bob Kern to do the refurbishing after he offered the lowest of three proposed bids. The total bid cost amounted to $7,500, which was half the price of the next lowest bid.


“It is a very old building, and when they got into it they ran into problems,” Sanford said.


The original brick mortar of the building needed to be removed due to substantial deterioration. Kern updated the edifice with a manmade stone and a new awning. Since the cost of the project was greater than the bid, Kern donated his labor to help keep the cost down. The grant then helped to fund partial costs for the material used.


Sanford noted the center also wishes to get a new welcome sign in front to identify it as the “Van Alstyne Senior Center.” He explained that the renovations are in accordance with the city volunteer group Keep Van Alstyne Beautiful.


“It (the renovation) was something we wanted to do, because the building belongs to the city,” Sanford said. “To do the things needed to keep the place right, it does take extra funds.”


The Senior Center depends entirely upon volunteers, including daily Meals on Wheels helpers and department, board and community volunteering. Activities are currently being scheduled in relation to the center, including plans for a fundraiser in the near future. Fundraisers are held periodically when the seniors are in need of funding for a particular purpose. Profits raised at a past fundraiser supplemented the CDC grant in order to enable the recent building refurbishing.


“Without funding and volunteers, the senior center wouldn’t exist,” Sanford said.


One of the anticipated innovations the center will include is a metal ramp to aid in handicapped denizens. Sanford acknowledged that this plan has been approved by the city and the city inspector. It will be implemented as soon as possible, as the board is currently taking bids for the project. New window treatments are also desired. Additionally, plans for replacing the existing television with a flat screen unit and acquiring newer furniture are also being discussed.


“The senior center is well attended to,” Sanford said. “All of the seniors seem proud of the upkeep of the place, and it is somewhere they like to go to.”


Further progress should be made over the next few weeks, which will allow for a final completion date for the upgrades and information about the possible fundraiser to be released to the public.