Los Abuelitos Senior Center planning new facility

Argen Duncan

The planned new facility for Los Abuelitos Senior Center will give senior citizens their own space and free up room for La Casa Family Health Center to expand its services, officials have said.

The center now has a multi-purpose room and an exercise room at La Casa. The county received a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant in May to build a separate facility on county land near La Casa and behind the new public health office, which is under construction.

“We need it, and I’m so happy about it and so are my seniors,” said Los Abuelitos Senior Coordinator Lupe Montoya.

County Commissioner and La Casa Maintenance Supervisor Jake Lopez initiated the process to seek the grant and lobbied for the award from his position on the Community Development Block Grant board.

“We needed it because we overgrew the clinic,” he said.

La Casa CEO Seferino Montano said the building would probably be about 3,000 to 4,000 square feet, depending on the type of construction, plumbing and other factors. He didn’t have an estimated date of completion, but said such projects tend to take at least a year.

Montoya expects to meet with architects this week or next to finalize plans and said construction would begin as soon as the public health office was finished.

The facility would feature separate rooms for playing pool, exercising, watching television and arts and crafts, Montoya said. She also expects to have a kitchen and multi-purpose room.

Speaking in Spanish with Montoya translating, Los Abuelitos client Guillermo Gonzalez said he thought a new building was a good idea because the clinic could use the old senior center and the new senior center would have its own space. Also speaking through Montoya, Tony Romero said seniors would have more room for activities.

Now, Montoya said, most senior center activities occur in one room and interfere with each other. She has also at times had to cancel activities to make room for La Casa events.

Montano said the most important thing about the new building was having a place for senior citizens to participate in activities.

In addition, he said, La Casa is running out of room. La Casa officials are considering using the senior center area to expand their dental clinic, provide space for their outreach program or increase their behavioral health services, Montano said.