Senior Center grows to keep up with demand

  • Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The new gym facility at the Mount Pleasant Senior Center features a much larger workout space and additional gym equipment. STAFF PHOTOS BY SULLY WITTE


Mount Pleasant seniors now have an expanded facility to enjoy. And it was desperately needed. The success of the senior center is proven in the ever-increasing membership numbers.

The five-year-old senior center was no longer able to accommodate the number of participants.

The ribbon was cut on Phase II of the center last Friday. Hundreds came out to celebrate the effort.

Since opening its doors in October of 2008, the existing 7,800 square foot senior center could barely provide sufficient space for the 1,900 members who use the facilities. The exercise room is in constant demand. Often, seniors are limited to 30 minutes of use due to the equipment waiting lines.

When East Cooper Medical Center donated the space in 2003 for the building and parking, they donated enough land to enable the town to expand the facility.

The expansion includes four new large rooms and will increase its programming to accommodate the growth in membership. Hill Construction Services of Charleston completed the work, winning the bid at $1,348,843.

The ground breaking for the expansion took place in October 2012.

Mount Pleasant Town Council member Thomasena Stokes-Marshall (for whom the center is named for) described the success of the center as a collaborative effort between East Cooper Medical Center, Mount Pleasant elected officials, town staff and community partners.

Senior coordinator Gary Jaster said that the center is up to 1,900 members. “The expansion will in effect double the size of our exercise space and provides the equipment to fill it,” he said. “People had to wait to use the equipment and now this will alleviate that.”

He said the exercise component of the center was a huge draw for members and the expansion will allow for not only more options but extended hours to draw in the babyboomer crowd that still works and needs to use the facility at night.

An expanded exercise studio for dance, yoga, zumba, belly danc will now offer other options as well.

“The entire expansion will enable us to offer more of a variety of classes and programs,” said Jaster.

“We have equipment we didn’t have before - things you would find in a regular health club.

He said before, the exercise room doubled as classroom space and now there is a designated classroom.

On any given day, the center has four paid employees on hand, as well as some part time employees. They rely heavily on volunteers to help the center run smoothly, Jaster explained.

“The seniors have a great work ethic anyway and having the volunteers here enables us to smoothly put on special events, keep the cafe clean and help people in the fitness room. It presents a more welcoming atmosphere here when people come in. We defiantly couldn’t do it without them.”

Program listings include:

• AARP Driver Safety Program

• Drawing, Calligraphy

• Exercise classes: Zumba, Strength Training, Pilates, Tai Chi, NIA, dancing and more

• Group games including Bingo, Pinochle, Bridge, Cribbage, Canasta, Dominoes, Mah Jongg

• Massage therapists and personal trainers

• Painting - watercolor, oil, acrylics

• Quilting, rughooking

• Social programs, including coffee talks, potluck luncheons, afternoon movies, health talks

• Wireless Internet and Computer and Tablet classes

• Wii Bowling

In addition, the Mount Pleasant Senior Center Booster Club, a separate component from the center, is designed to support the town and the center in the delivery of service to the active senior population. This non-profit group conducts various fundraising activities and contributes to the center’s needs. To become a member of the booster club, call 884-6853 or 856-9732. Dues are $10 per year.

The center is located at 840 Von Kolnitz Road in Mount Pleasant. Geared toward those 50 and older, the Senior Services Center offers a variety of recreational, cultural and creative arts programs, in addition to providing health, wellness, educational and social activities. Space at the facility includes a weight room, aerobics room, cafe, prep kitchen, screened porch, card room, educational room, arts and crafts room, and therapeutic healing garden.

Senior Center membership fees are $100 per year for Charleston County residents and $200 for non-residents of Charleston County. For details, call MPRD Senior Center at 843-856-2166.

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