Marjorie Hughes, 77, a member of the Rosedale Senior Center for 13 years, wore her sentiments on her chest yesterday when she came to hear that her center would be saved.
In white letters on a blue sweat shirt were the words, "I'd Rather Be Over the Hill/ Than Under It."
Ms. Hughes was one of more than 125 senior citizens who heard Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III declare yesterday that their senior center had been saved from burial. An $800,000, 7,000-square-foot modular building will be built on the grounds of the former Rosedale Elementary School, where the center is now located, at 8200 Old Philadelphia Road.
"I like it," said Ms. Hughes of the announcement.
The senior center was threatened when the county school system, which owns the property, asked for the 9,000 square feet of space used by the center in the school, and had requested the seniors to be out by April 1996. The seniors share the building with the Rosedale Center for Alternative Studies, and some school administrative offices.
The alternative studies center, for high school students who have not been successful in regular programs, has about 100 students and wants to expand.
The seniors were concerned that they would lose a location that is central for many of the senior center's 180 members. About 120 of them come regularly to work on crafts, attend exercise and dancing classes, play bingo, shoot pool, take trips and make friends.
Mr. Ruppersberger said the modular building will be opened in October. It will be constructed off-site, trucked in and placed on a prepared foundation next to the school.
"We have some tough times, but when it comes to you, we all worked together for a solution," the executive said. "This is the lifeblood of many seniors, and we felt it was important to find a permanent home."
The building is a joint project of the county Board of Education, which will design the building, and the Department of Aging. Additional parking also will be provided.
George Shea, president of the Rosedale Senior Center Council, had been working for years for a solution to the lack of permanent quarters.
"All I can say is thanks," he said yesterday.
Elizabeth Hall, at 94 the oldest member of the Rosedale Senior Center, was nattily dressed in gray slacks and vest, and a brightly colored striped blouse for the occasion. Asked what she thought about it, Ms. Hall said, "It's about time!"