Categories: Entertainment

Movin’ out for renos

The bags are packed and sitting by the door. All that’s left for the St. Albert 50+ Club is to move across the street and keep up with business as usual in its new temporary location.

“Right now, the club is quite an interesting place. It’s basically boxed up,” said executive director Karin Debenham. “We’re completely vacating.”

The aging facility at 7 Taché St. is all set to undergo extensive renovations. Everything is safely packed up and documented, she said.

“It’s a huge renovation,” she clarified. “They’re basically gutting the inside – major, major gut – of this building with some additions to the outside, mainly to optimize square footage and some storage. The clubhouse is approximately 40 years old and has undergone an expansion here and there but it has never seen anything quite like this in its history.

The project is anticipated to be completed within a year’s timeframe.

Some programs have been or will be relocated to Cornerstone Hall at the St. Albert Legion. Everything else will transition to the club’s temporary home at 301 Grandin Tower.

“There will be art classes up there. The Groovy Gang will be up there singing. All of our support programs and everything, all of our office staff…” she listed off. “It’s really worked out very well.”

The only program that will not be able to make the move is the wood shop although one member is hoping to introduce a woodcarving program. The wood shop is set to return once 7 Taché St. reopens.

“Our main goal has always been through this whole process to ensure that our membership and the seniors of this city – because it’s both – can continue receiving participating in the activities and the services as they always have.”

The last full day of business is tomorrow and there will be a period of about a week to re-establish itself in the Grandin Tower. The 50+ Club will be reopen for business at that spot starting on Aug. 6. There will be no telephone or computer access in the interim.

The building is owned by the city and administrators from both organizations are managing the project. City council approved $2.37 million through the 2014-2016 budget process for the work.

The renovations will end up increasing the amount of floor space to close to 13,000 sq. ft., up from around 11,000 sq. ft.

“It’s going to effectively use space. It’s going to be fresh,” she said, noting that there has been a lingering smell that has also made things interesting. “We really hope that the old odours that come with this building will be gone because they’re working on the crawl space. It’s like old house odours that come with this building. You get used to it.”

Apart from that, the end result will also include a large commercial kitchen that will be double the current size “which gives us all sorts of opportunities for rental and for holding significant events for the club as well as serving hot meals on a regular basis.”

“There’s lots of excitement. It’s extremely exciting!” Debenham said. “I’m a little on the exhausted side right now.”

Scott Hayes: Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.