Celebrating the season, Elgin seniors ate lunch, talked and played games at the Elgin Community Center on Friday, Dec. 20.
Celebrating the season, Elgin seniors ate lunch, talked and played games at the Elgin Community Center on Friday, Dec. 20.

Elgin - After several months of talking and planning, plans are now final to build a new facility for the Community Center. City Council members recently approved selling the current community center building to Elgin Public Schools and are making plans to build a new facility. For about 46 years, the Elgin Community Center Senior Nutrition Site has been a place of gathering for any type of special event from weddings to birthday parties.

City council members have been discussing the idea of either selling or renovating the center since Jan. 14 and have decided the residents of Elgin will be getting a new building at a new location. Upgrades to the Elgin community center have reportedly been long overdue. On April 17, 2020, a Facebook post thanked the local grocery store, Williams Discount Food, for allowing the community center to temporarily store food in their freezer because one of theirs broke down.

Five days later, on April 22, the community center posted on their Facebook page that they did not have power and would have to close for the day until a solution could be achieved. Elgin community center is a host to many activities, such as exercise classes for seniors, gospel and even a few academic classes. Every day the center also provides lunches for those who need a place to eat and socialize with other members of the community.

COVID-19 CHANGES

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the normal everyday operations to change, the center has adapted for the safety of the Elgin community while also continuing to provide amenities. Due to staying at home orders, the community center has taken to providing online exercise classes for seniors and pick-up or delivery meals. As the stay at home order is lifted, the community center is providing outdoor exercise and stretching classes for seniors while maintaining social distancing practices.

FUNDING

Funds for the new center will be provided in the form of a grant from the McMahon Foundation in Lawton. Financial support will also come from selling the old community center to Elgin Public Schools. Elgin Mayor Larry Thoma said the new Elgin Community Center and Senior Nutrition Site is at a better location and is more up-to-date. According to Larry, the city is looking at a cost of $450,000 to build the new center.

However, during the recent Elgin City Council meeting held last Tuesday, new light was shown on the cost of building a new center. Due to building safety regulations and requirements, the new center will reportedly cost upwards of $1.2 to $1.5 million. At the July 14 meeting, the council made a motion to begin planning the layout and design of the new center, but it is still being determined when construction will officially begin. Previously, the old center was roughly 3,000 square feet, but the new center will be double that. The new location will be located in Industrial Park, the Northwest Quarter of section 36.

"We are extremely pleased with the generosity of McMahon Foundation," Larry said in a Dec. 25, 2019, article printed in The Chronicle. "I appreciate the hard work of Gaylene Kolker and Rachael Jones, as well as our City Clerk Machelle Reynolds. The City of Elgin looks forward to seeing the great improvements at the Elgin Community Center."