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Gilman Home makes sizeable donation to Alton Senior Center expansion fund


by Tim Croes
Staff Writer - The Baysider

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A CHECK FOR $40,000 was donated to the Pearson Road Community and Senior Center by the Gilman Home on Friday, July 13, that will help fund the Phase II renovation of the building. Pictured left to right (front row) are: Peter Bolster, Amy Braun, the director of senior center, and Jon Nivus, the Chairman of the Gilman Home. They are joined by other members of the Senior Center Citizens Building Committee, Ken McWilliams, the town planner, and Carol Smith (not pictured), the director of the Ossipee Mountain Habitat for Humanity. Tim Croes. (click for larger version)
July 17, 2012
ALTON — Friday the 13th didn't feature any bad luck for the Alton Senior Center.

Jon Nivus, the Chairman of the Gilman Home presented the Senior Citizens Building Committee a check for $40,000 at its meeting on Friday, July 13.

Nivus explained that the Gilman Home started as a boarding home for elders in the 1930s. The organization has donated money to assist senior citizens with hearing aids, false teeth, eye glasses and other needs.

"The center fits very well with what the Gilman Home provides," Nivus said. "I can't think of a better way to help out."

Phase I improvements were made to the senior center through a pair of town warrant articles totaling $45,000, $15,000 from the Clough-Morrill Fund, $4,000 in encumbered funds from 2010, $29,791 in private donations, including a $2,750 donation from Edward and Elizabeth Reeves, and $10,725 in volunteer resources.

Another town warrant article for $30,000 was approved this past March, $6,557 is left over from private donations and with the $40,000 from the Gilman Home, a total of $76,557 is now available for the Phase II expansion.

In addition to the financial contributions, volunteers have stepped up to offer their services for the project.

Steve Dana, a local contractor, has volunteered his crew to help frame and enclose the new 36-by-36-foot addition. The Ossipee Mountain Habitat for Humanity has volunteered to help with addition, Peter Julia of Farmhouse Land Development, the town's consulting engineer, has volunteered his time to prepare a stormwater drainage plan, Cindy Balcius of Stoney Ridge Environmental has volunteered her time to prepare the required wetlands permit for affecting the drainage running off the property and Tom Varney of Varney Engineering LLC has volunteered his time to design a clean solutions septic system to serve the expanded center.

Additionally, the Alton Highway Department will be providing assistance with clearing the portion of the site needed for building addition, additional parking and new septic system.

Phase II will include a 36-by-36-foot addition with one room measuring 24-by-36 feet that will be used primarily as expanded dining space, two multi-purpose rooms measuring 12-by-16 feet and a 12-by-four-foot room for table storage.

Phase III of the renovation, which is to renovate the kitchen, which is out of date, is also planned down the line. This part of the project will involve removing the small shed addition on the back of the center and constructing a new 16-by-20-foot addition.

A budget for this phase hasn't been established, but the estimated cost for the kitchen appliances alone is $13,000.

The projects for Phase II and Phase III were switched in hopes that putting the new addition would raise awareness about the building and allow for additional donations.

The committee talked about two options to add additional parking and agreed on a plan that could provide as many as 52 spaces.

A path will also be cut out that will lead directly to apartments located nearby.

A basement will also be included as part of the renovation and will provide space that could be used as shelter during an emergency situation.

Ken McWilliams, the town planner, estimated that the total cost of the Phase II renovation would be approximately $130,000 when items liking parking, drainage, dry wall, insulation and other cost items are added to project costs.

Some of the high ticket items included in the renovation are: $30,000 for a new clean solution septic system and leach field, $25,000 in building materials and nearly $11,000 for a new HVAC system.

Selectman Peter Bolster, a member of the Senior Citizens Building Committee hoped that the project could be started sometime late in the fall, but McWiliams suggested that if the project was to be started in October or November that the project should be held over until next spring.

Bolster pointed out that the main goal of the committee is to raise money. He talked about the town voting an additional warrant article to finish the Phase II renovation as an option.

Amy Braun, the director of the senior center, is excited about having additional space.

Braun said the wellness programs are getting so popular that she is already running out of space.

One of the additions from the Phase I renovation is the conference room that is being used as a classroom, and she said that room fills up quickly.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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