Day care center for elderly may move to former school

January 16, 1995|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

A South Carroll day care center for the elderly is expected to move into an old Westminster school building next year, after a local senior center and the county Bureau on Aging move to a new building.

Family & Children's Services of Central Maryland would like to close the day care center it operates in part of the South Carroll senior center on Bartholow Road and move into the former West End School building on Schoolhouse Avenue.

The Westminster senior center and Bureau of Aging are scheduled to move into a building the county is constructing on Stoner Avenue extended near Bishop Street. A 1993 schedule called for the center to be open this spring, but it has been delayed for about a year.

Family and Children's Services wants to increase its adult day care capacity from 20 to 30 or 40, said Judy Carpenter, director of the South Carroll center. The agency also plans to convert the second floor of the building to assisted living apartments for elderly people.

Those apartments could meet a need for housing for senior citizens who are "not well enough to live independently, but not sick enough to need a nursing home," said Karen K. Blandford, housing and community development supervisor for the city of Westminster, which owns the building.

The first step is a study to determine what repairs or renovations are needed to bring the building, which was built in the late 1800s, up to current standards. Westminster City Council approved a $3,500 contract last week with local architect Dean R. Camlin to evaluate the building.

A move to Westminster won't take the South Carroll center away from its clients, because many are from Westminster, New Windsor and Finksburg, Mrs. Carpenter said. "To be centrally located would be a positive," she said.

Two other adult day care centers operate in South Carroll, one in Eldersburg and one at Fairhaven retirement community in Sykesville. Mrs. Carpenter said the Family & Children's Services center is the only one of the three that bases fees on a sliding income scale, which it can do because it receives a United Way grant.

Family & Children's Services will not make a formal commitment until the agency learns whether the old school building can be adapted to the program it wants, Mrs. Carpenter said.

The planned 27,700-square-foot senior center and Bureau of Aging offices on Stoner Avenue will double the existing space in the old school building, said Janet B. Flora, head of the Bureau on Aging. But the most important feature is that it will meet accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, she said. The old school building does not.

Mrs. Flora said she hopes to open the new center to more weekend and evening community use than is possible in the existing building.

The county opened bids on the project early this month. Lake Falls Construction Inc. of Baltimore was the apparent low bidder with a price of $3.5 million, about $200,000 above the 1993 estimate. The commissioners have not yet awarded the construction contract.

Thomas J. Rio, county building construction chief, attributed the year's delay to storm water management issues and additional design time for a second story that the previous board of commissioners asked the architect to add to the plans.

Mr. Rio said the second story was bid as an option, so the commissioners can decide before they award the contract whether they want to construct the building to allow for a future second story or plan for ground-level additions.

Ms. Blandford said the city's criteria for a tenant at the West End School were that the use should be appropriate to the neighborhood and building and should be self-supporting.

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