A new state-of-the-art facility known as the Soprema Senior Center and Cafe is expected to open for business for seniors on Monday, replacing the 80-year-old building on 138 High Street that began serving as the Wadsworth Center for Older Adults nearly four decades ago.
A cupcake social to bid farewell to the old building was held on Nov. 15. On Dec. 7, Wadsworth seniors officially partied at 138 High St. for the last time with a Christmas party.
The transition to the new facility has begun. Director Nancy Likens said all the "usable items will be coming with us."
According to Likens, the rooms at the new center will be able to serve "multiple purposes." She said "we are going to be flexible" in the transition to make sure the users are comfortable.
In order to lessen the shock of the transition, a number of "ambassadors" will be on hand to greet the seniors and give them a tour of the facility, explain the layout and answer questions. Likens said the seniors will "have a friend from the get-go" with the ambassadors available.
The ambassadors will have name badges, and Likens said "we are fortunate to have them." She added that "we may keep them around for a long time."
Those who have elected to be ambassadors had a preliminary meeting and will have another Jan. 4 to prepare for the Jan. 7 opening.
Likens did admit the first few weeks may be "trial and error" in order to work out any problems that may crop up during the transition to the new building.
A full kitchen will serve the café, with students from Windfall Industries providing the help. Likens said it may February before the cafe is serving a complete menu.
"The cafe is an exciting dimension," Likens said, and noted the cafe is expected to serve "fresh and tasty food."
The nutrition site now housed in the lower level of the building at 138 High St. will remain there through April. It will then move to the cafe at the new senior center. Likens said Medina County Public Transit will provide shuttle service to seniors who need it. After the building at 138 High St. is vacated, city officials will have to decide what to do with it. Discussions are already underway on that issue.
Even though there is no membership fee, the center is asking everyone who wants to use the facility to fill out a membership form, even if they have completed one previously. The form asks for information including emergency contacts. The generous support from the city, the Wadsworth Older Adults Foundation and Professional Friends allows membership to be free.
A new newsletter is expected to be published in February with up-to-date information on the center and the programs that will be available. Some of the programs include tai chi, crafts, movies, card games, arthritis exercise, veterans’ assistance, Bible study, food distribution, cooking classes, bingo, theater, gym walks, blood pressure checks, an Alzheimer's support group, aParkinson's support group and income tax assistance.
Capital campaign contributions from Soprema, the Dominion Foundation, Phyllis and Robert Leatherman and the Hilliard Charitable Trust provided funds for the new center.
In addition to the Soprema Center, which is located at 617 School Drive, another part of the new community center is a fitness center administered by the YMCA. That facility opened in December. Summa Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital is expected to open a branch at the community center in January. The Wadsworth library will also have a small space, and Wadsworth Community Television will be housed at the community center.
The telephone number for the facility remains the same, 330-335-1513.