William Ford Senior Center atrium renovated

When a large group of senior citizens, City officials and jammed into the William Ford Senior Activities Center atrium in late August 2017, they were thinking the same thoughts. It was Mayor Rick Sollars who voiced them.

“I think this is going to be a great room,” he said as the group held a grand opening for the $145,000 renovation project. The atrium room, located off the back of the center, has been a sore spot for years. Design flaws caused the roof to leak, leading to a general deterioration of the room. The room had poor structural integrity and fire safety issues (because it had no entry/exit from exterior). Eventually, what should have been the most beautiful room in the facility turned into an albatross.

Sollars and his designated team – Jeff Baum (Community Development), Guido Ulin (Buildings and Grounds) and members of Hennessey Engineering – put together a comprehensive plan to improve the facility.

“We used Community Development Block Grant funds,” Baum said, “and installed new lightweight translucent roof panels with improved pitch.  The improved pitch helps with water run-off.  Lightweight translucent panels absorb a lot of the heat during the summer months which helps the room feel less stuffy.”

The roof is hundreds of pounds lighter than the previous one. Replaced were all glass panels on re-aligned existing aluminum frame.; an entry/exit door was added to a new attached vestibule with aluminum framing – which brought the atrium up to fire code for safety purposes and also avoided traffic cutting through the ping-pong/gaming room.

Simultaneously, the City also Improved landscaping and walkways around the building. The water fountains in the adjacent ponds are again working and will aid with mosquito mitigation.

Lastly, all new vinyl plank flooring was added in the atrium and vestibule. All new furniture (table, chairs, love sofas, etc.) were donated by Realty Transition LLC.

“The renovations, and additions now give seniors and guests a place to sit and chat or read, or just relax with a fantastic view,” Baum said. 

“Hennessey Engineering, Jeff and Guido all helped out with this project immensely,” Mayor Sollars said. “(Now) we’re going to renovate all the flooring throughout the senior center. We want to make sure that seniors have a place to continue to enjoy. We feel that the room is going to be great through the fall and winter. When we get into the spring and summer, it may get a little warm, and we may need to make some adjustments, but we’re definitely on the right path to making the senior center a more enjoyable place.”