West Windsor to hire architect for senior center plan

By: Emily Craighead
   WEST WINDSOR — The Township Council is expected later this month to appoint an architect to design the senior center expansion.
   Discussion at Monday night’ council meeting on the search for an architect addressed finding an architect whose methods would make the building a model for developers in West Windsor.
   Councilwoman Heidi Kleinman, who is an architect, insisted on the need to hire an architect who will incorporate energy-efficient and environmentally friendly elements into the design.
   The existing senior center is plagued by design flaws, including high ceilings that make the main hall difficult and expensive to heat.
   "I’m determined that in the process we’ve had so far, that we avoid these kinds of pitfalls," senior center Director Lynn Thornton said.
   Clients who use the building will be involved in details of the design to ensure that the new facility meets their needs.
   "As an accredited senior center, we have already demonstrated that we live up to that philosophy," Ms. Thornton said.
   The senior center has been in its current location at the municipal center since 1989. The building includes a large multi-purpose room equipped with three pool tables, a classroom, computer room, kitchen and offices. It can no longer accommodate the center’s growing need for program rooms, said Ms. Thornton.
   The concept design under discussion would double the size of the senior center. About $1.1 million has been dedicated to the project, including a $100,000 grant from the state, a $50,000 grant from the Department of Community Affairs and $500,000 from the county. The township has committed $500,000 in its capital budget and $60,000 from litigation relating to construction of the current building.