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Bend Senior Center plans $15 million expansion


A tiny exercise room, small multipurpose rooms, and a multiplying number of Bend seniors.

“The existing (Bend) Senior Center is overcrowded a lot of times and it doesn’t have a lot of facilities people are looking for,” Bend Park and Rec Recreation Services Director Matt Mercer said Tuesday.

But after years of planning, Bend Park and Rec has revealed a $15 million plan to revamp and expand the senior center.

Mercer set up shop at the center on Tuesday for a day-long open house to show off artist renderings of the proposed project and answer questions from the community.

In two phases spanning the next few years, the facility will quadruple in size.

The park district purchased four acres of land between the existing facility and 15th Street last June, anticipating the future expansion.

Bend resident Bambi Curtis rug-hooks every Tuesday with her friends at the center, and she hopes an expansion will provide more opportunities to get active.

“I liked what I saw,” Curtis said of the sketches. “I certainly like that there’s going to be a pool. They’ll be able to have different programs, and they won’t be so crowded.”

Not just a pool, but a large multipurpose room, a community garden — even an indoor track is in the works — a total of about 40,000 square feet.

“There will be a lot of social spaces, arts and crafts spaces, and more community-orientated spaces,” Mercer said.

Groundbreaking for the first, $2.5 million phase of the expansion is expected as early as this fall.

The extra 5,000 square feet will include the multipurpose room, and interior and exterior renovations.

“That would be paid through our general fund,” Mercer said. “It’s funds that we’ve been saving for the last few years.”

Paying for the second phase — the bulk of the project — is more uncertain.

“It would be something the district would have to set a disciplined program for a period of time to be able to do that,” Mercer said.

Park officials said they’ll discuss community feedback and the next steps moving forward at their next board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21st at 7 p.m. at their headquarters on Columbia Street.

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