Paul Cook uncovers one of the new tables in the billiards room.
Visitors to the new Senior Center at the Fairgrounds will note an artistic accent on the fitted stone walls: two horizontal black stripes that look for all the world like coal seams.
That's because they were literally taken from nature. According to County Quality Control Inspector Tom McCrary, builders went up Price Canyon to the road cut near the Carbon Power Plant and made molds of the actual exposed seams there.
Then they cast them into concrete slabs and painted over with a glossy black.
It's a small touch, but a hint of the attention to detail that has gone into the 34,000 square-foot building.
Except for a few small details, such as new card tables which haven't arrived yet, the building is about done, McCrary said.
Meanwhile, lunch is being served from a totally new kitchen, eaten with brand-new silverware in a dining room that features Brazilian cherry hardwood floors and wall-to-wall picture windows.
But before the description continues, all involved in the project are emphasizing that local tax dollars did not finance the hardwood, the imported Indian sandstone walls or anything else.
It is all from federal mineral lease money, which Commissioner Bill Krompel likened to a sales tax on coal and natural gas produced in the county. Technically, the county does not even own the building, but leases it from the Recreation and Transporation Special Service District.
Last year, the district got a $4.2 million grant an an equal amount in loan money from the Permanent Community Impact Board for the project.
Krompel, who is a member of the RTSSD board, said the building and furnishings are an investment for the long term. "If everything is maintained right, it will still be open in 60 or 70 years," he stated.
There will be an open house at the center on Sept. 27 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., said center director Debbie Kobe. Those who show up for the tour will get to see the other features of the new building.
These areas and fixtures include:
- A large-screen movie theater with tiered seating;
- A complete ceramics center;
- Billiard room;
- Artwork on nearly every wall, produced by local artists and photographers;
- A library with gas fireplace;
- A room for card playing;
- Office space for Meals on Wheels, drivers and adminstration;
- Two exercise rooms, one for aerobics and the other with exercise equipment;
- Meeting and visiting facilities.
The county historical society is meeting in the building as of now, as is the quilting guild.
Krompel said the Senior Center will also be able to serve as an adjunct for the Events Center next store. When big conventions come to town, the Senior Center will be able to offer additional meeting space for such things as breakout sessions.
Not visible on the tour will be the geothermal heating/cooling system. Those pipes go hundreds of feet down beneath the parking lot and take heat to and from the earth below.
McCrary said this arrangement will reduce long-term heating and cooling expenses at the center.