Cherokee County Post 2 Commissioner Jim Hubbard said the project is “long overdue.”
The project will add 2,000 additional square feet to the present 6,000 square foot building.
Nathan Brandon, director of senior services for Cherokee County, said the additions will include a new dining room and kitchen for the center’s congregate program, a separate staging kitchen for the Meals on Wheels program and additional space for administrative staff.
“It’s served us well,” Brandon said of the old building, but he noted the services the organization provides have outgrown the space.
Meals on Wheels delivers more than 50,000 meals each year and had to function alongside the 25-plus-member congregate program that also used the same kitchen, he said.
“Sharing a kitchen with two different programs is like having two mothers-in-law,” he said with a laugh. “And the extra space will make having two programs simultaneously possible now.”
Hubbard said the major changes will improve traffic flow in the kitchens, especially during lunch hours.
“(The construction team) has redesigned the kitchen with a central core and two outputs so people are not running into each other,” he said.
The county Board of Commissioners awarded a bid to Gay Construction and its team, which included Clark Patterson Lee, to perform the renovations for $1.2 million, which consists of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and Community Development Block Grant funds for the center’s renovation.
The groundbreaking for the project was on Feb. 29.
“I think with the new space, the program will be more efficient to run,” Brandon said. “Now we have the ability to have our building arranged to fit our functions.”
For now, seven of the center’s staff members are working at the Cherokee Area Transportation System offices while Brandon and two other employees work at the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Conference Center.
The congregate program participants, who meet on a daily basis, have been using space at the Mimms Boys & Girls Club and the Meals on Wheels program has been operating out of First Baptist Church of Canton during the renovations.
Senior services has 16 people on staff, which includes 11 full-time and five part-time employees. There are between nine and 12 volunteers who every day deliver meals as part of the Meals on Wheels program, whose volunteers deliver more than 180 meals to homes each day.
Brandon said seniors have told him they are particularly thrilled about the new covered entrance and American Disabilities Act-certified restrooms, which are more easily accessible for the elderly.
He added that after construction is completed in July, there will be a ribbon cutting to celebrate the new additions and renovations.