The Senior Services Center renovations are currently in phase four where the senior home is renovated into new service space.
Senior Services Center Renovations in Phase Four
By Sheila Begay
Au-Authm Action News

Since April 2014, renovations for the 21 year old Salt River Senior Services Center have been under way. If you haven’t already taken a stroll through the center, obvious changes might include fresh paint, new flooring, cultural décor, dining room and restroom renovations, a new entrance lobby and some new administrative offices. Currently, construction renovations are in phase four of six.

The project is a collaboration between Senior Services and Public Works, with assistance from the Scottsdale Community College Interior Design Program. Staff and seniors have also been given the opportunity to provide suggestions for color palettes, interior colors and furniture selection.

The purpose of the renovation project originally derived from the renovation of the Lehi Community Center. Although the Salt River Senior Services Center was utilizing the space to the best of their ability, a lot of the extra space wasn’t being utilized or didn’t meet the needs of seniors (building codes/safety).

A need to update the Salt River senior services center was brought to the surface with an overall goal to improve space utilization, meet building codes and address any safety concerns, all while delivering the best possible services to Community seniors.

“It’s important for the Community to know that we finished three of the six phases. We’re currently in phase four, which is renovating the former senior home into [new service space],” said Michael Tweedy, Public Works Facilities Coordinator.

The Senior Services Center offers various programs to over 900 enrolled Community seniors, such as: food services (home delivered lunches and congregate meals), activities and recreation, transportation services, case management and homecare assistance. After renovations, seniors will also be able to enjoy outdoor recreation, a multi-purpose room, and more effective office space for approximately 63 employees.

“Phase four basically is a complete demolition of the interior of the former home and is the rebuilding from the foundations back up. The best estimate of completion I can give you right now for phase four is December [2015] and that’s an estimate. It was October, but I think we’ll do better. Right now based on what we’ve gotten done and what we have left to do I’ll have a better schedule within the next week or two,” said Tweedy.

Phase four of the construction renovations have had various set-backs and has pushed the completion of phase four to December 2015. “We run into a problem every time we work on these older facilities and this facility is over 20 years old,” said Kirk Beaty, Public Works Director.

“There’s a lot of stuff that wasn’t built to the correct building code. We have to build to the standards of a commercial building, and the stuff that was built 20 years ago was built to the standards of residential homes. The wiring is not correct, the structural components are wrong, plumbing is messed up, and the buildings don’t have fire sprinklers. Some of this stuff you don’t really know until you start taking back the layers of all the walls,” said Beaty.

Six Construction Phases:

  • Phase I – convert restroom to storage - completed Spring 2014
  • Phase II – dining room and restroom renovation - completed Fall 2014
  • Phase III – entrance lobby, reception desk and administrative offices - completed Winter 2014
  • Phase IV – renovate senior home to office space - currently in progress
  • Phases V/VI – renovate previous administrative office and support service modular into senior multi-purpose rooms - anticipated Fall 2015

“We found several surprises in the main building when we started demolishing. It threw us off our schedule. We had to bring in an engineer and some structural design foundations that we didn’t plan to do, and the problem is once you get into it you can’t just leave it, you have to keep on going,” added Beaty.

Although the construction renovations may be taking a little longer than anticipated, all of this is being done while maintaining service delivery to seniors.

“I’m very much aware [of the process.] I’ve experienced it personally, that’s probably why I have a little more patience with the project. We still have to provide service every day and work around the project. [Public Works has] taken that into consideration by phasing it and we had to work around the project. Unfortunately, some phases are taking a little longer than we might like, but that’s just the way it works when you’re living in a project,” said Roberta Carlos, Senior Services director.

“It’s still cost effective to do renovations, versus to build something brand new because the time to actually construct something brand new it would take many years and millions of dollars to do that. The work we’ve done at this point, we’ve spent about approximately $200,000 dollars and we’re doing a lot of the work with staff from public works. After the project is completed, we’re looking at a total of $350,000,” said Beaty.

For more information about the Senior Center Renovations, contact Roberta “Bobby” Carlos at (480) 362-6329 or

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