Dawson County has officially closed the books on its project at the Pauline Stephens Ivey Senior Center, which added a new building, activities and resources for elderly local residents.
According to Dawson County Senior Services Director Dawn Johnson, the project at Veterans Memorial Park kicked off in 2017 when the county received a large donation from the Pauline Stephens Ivey Fund, which was named after a philanthropist who died in 2014.
“It first started when we received a donation from the Pauline Stephens Ivey Fund for approximately $950,000,” Johnson said. “Then we were able to get a community development block grant in the amount of $750,000, and then the Board of Commissioners graciously helped with additional funding.”
The new building includes a large multi-purpose space, a large kitchen, office space, lobby, nurse’s office and respite room, among other things.
“We have a game room, a movie room, a main dining room; just all kinds of areas that the seniors can utilize,” Johnson said.
According to Johnson, the senior center has officially been open for about three weeks, and clients have been allowed into the building on a limited basis.
“We wanna keep a limited number in the building so we can keep a check on covid numbers in our community,” Johnson said. “So our clients come in once a week for two hours a day starting out, and once we get through covid our new building will host all of our day-to-day clients; they’ll come here every day and they’re usually here from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.”
Johnson said that the new building’s addition has allowed for easier social distancing among the seniors who have been coming to the center, and that once everything can be opened safely it will be easy for the center’s clients to move from one building to the other.
“On Dec. 1 we will be starting back with our exercise program in the other senior center,” Johnson said. “And once we get through COVID they can go back and forth to the other center for exercise and for the activities over there.”
According to Johnson, the reception to the new building has been great among local seniors who are already utilizing the center.
“They love the new facility and they love everything that’s in here that they can participate in and do,” Johnson said. “So reception has been good, they just wanna get back to coming in and being here every day.”
With the new building finally open, Johnson said that the center is a valuable addition to the Dawson County community.
“It’s a beautiful facility, and it’s something that Dawson County residents can be proud of,” Johnson said.