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Weather Stalls Senior Center Expansion Project

Township officials said expansion expected to be complete within six months.

While South Brunswick has largely been spared from winter's worst thus far, the weather has caused delays to work on the expansion of the South Brunswick Senior Center.

"Because of the weather, the project has been somewhat stalled," said Public Affairs Coordinator Ron Schmalz. "But we're still expecting everything to proceed as planned, so it should still open within the next six months."

In March 2012, the Township Council approved an ordinance that appropriated $2.9 million for both the expansion to the center and for lights to be installed on the softball fields at Reichler Park. 

The contract for the expansion was awarded to Tekton Development, who was the second lowest bidder at $2.06 million, after the low bidder was rejected for a number of deficiencies in the bid specifications.

Both the lights and the center expansion are being funded by the township's Open Space Trust Fund, with Middlesex County providing a 50 percent match from county open space funds for the upgrades.

In October last year, the township  which will add about 10,000-square feet near the rear entrance of the existing auditorium at the Senior Center. The addition will bring the total area of the center to about 26,000-square feet. 

Director of the Office on Aging Christine Wildemuth said the expansion includes a small room for low impact exercise equipment that allows members to work out, in addition to exam rooms. A wellness center will also host physical fitness activities, health and wellness lectures, and doctor screenings through a partnership with local hospitals.

The township is also still in talks with local medical facilities to host the wellness clinics and other health-related programming.

"We're still working on a wellness component and we'd like to bring in one of the area hospitals for everything from wellness visits to (inoculation) shots," Schmalz said. "We're still working on that and we think it will come together as we get some more movement on the construction."

Of the nearly 44,000 people living in South Brunswick, about 22 percent are between the ages of 45 and 64-years-old, and about 7 percent are over the age of 65. The Senior Center currently has about 3,100 active members. 

While original estimates targeted a May 2013 opening for the expansion, the actual opening date may still be at the mercy of Mother Nature.

"We're still up in the air on the opening and we're still looking at the six-month window," Schmalz said. "But the weather did impact it."

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