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Rotterdam senior center will get extensive repairs

Rotterdam senior center will get extensive repairs

Classes resuming at various locations
Rotterdam senior center will get extensive repairs
Rotterdam Town Supervisor Steve Tommasone looks up at the ceiling of the Rotterdam Senior Center on Hamburg Street Friday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

ROTTERDAM -- Parts of the Rotterdam Senior Citizen Center may re-open by Election Day after an August flood, but the most damaged parts of the building may not be usable again for months.

Town Supervisor Steven A. Tommasone said the town is upgrading the antiquated alarm system, as well as make other needed improvements to a building that was built in the 1930s.

"It's going to take several months," Tommasone said during a tour of the old brick building at Hamburg Street and East Campbell Avenue on Friday.

The building was used on a regular basis by hundreds of senior citizens. The senior center offered games, classes and lunches, and all those programs came to a halt, though classes will begin at other locations this week.

The town is taking the opportunity to bring the building's fire and smoke alarms up to modern code, and that work is on schedule to be finished by early November. "The fire and smoke alarms were damaged by the flood, and they were so old they really needed to be replaced anyway," Tommasone said.

While insurance will cover the flood-related repairs, the supervisor said the town has sufficient funds to be able to pay for additional updates. One of his ideas is to remove the drop ceilings and restore some features like an original ceiling arch at the Hamburg Street main entrance.

A leak from a second-floor high-pressure toilet on Aug. 8 did serious damage inside the center, located in a two-story former elementary school at 2639 Hamburg St. Though the leak took place while people were in the building and was stopped fairly quickly, drop ceilings were soaked and have been removed and much of the flooring has had to be ripped up.

The Brass Rail Cafe, where senior citizens could prepare and purchase inexpensive meals, suffered some of the worst damage, with all its equipment waterlogged. "That room will have to be completely redone," Tommasone said.

An emergency response company handled the initial cleanup, which took several weeks, and since then an alarm company has been installing new wiring and alarms that will bring the building into code compliance and improve security.

In addition to displacing senior programs, the Mother Goose Nursery that was a tenant in the building had to move, even though the rooms it used were undamaged.

"Luckily everyone got out safely, but it's been a huge inconvenience for the seniors and also for the kids," Tommasone said.

The town on Tuesday will start offering senior citizen activities at various interim locations; seniors had called for the town to provide an alternative for their gatherings.

Town senior center coordinator Dreama D'Ortona said the exercise and craft classes have been missed by many seniors, though it has taken time to arrange new locations.

"You know, for a lot of those folks it's where they have interactions with other people, because they live alone," D'Ortona said. "We're trying to let people know what's going on, then they know what to expect."

The classes will be meeting at places like the Rotterdam Library and ViaPort Rotterdam mall, though D'Ortona cautioned that some classes, like quilting, may not be practical to establish at an interim location because of the equipment or storage required.

While some classes are already meeting, D'Ortona said the full schedule of available classes will resume on Tuesday.

On Mondays, painting class will meet at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Rotterdam Library on North Wescott Road, and chair yoga will be at 10:30 a.m. at ViaPort Rotterdam, in a room near the entrance closest to the cemetery. (Neither will meet this Monday, though, because of the Columbus Day holiday.)

On Tuesdays, knitting and crocheting will meet at 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Panera Bread at Mohawk Commons in Niskayuna, Mah Jong will meet at 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at ViaPort, and pinochle will meet noon to 3:45 p.m. at the library.

On Wednesdays, beginning and intermediate osteo exercise will meet at 11 a.m. at ViaPort, and Zentangle will meet at 1 p.m. at the library.

On Thursdays, pinochle will meet at noon at the library.

On Fridays, chair yoga will meet at 9 a.m. at the mall, and Mah Jong will meet 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the mall.

Reach Daily Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086,[email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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