East Windsor re-bids senior center expansion project

SCOTT FRIEDMAN

East Windsor officials are going back out for bids for the expansion to the East Windsor Senior Center.

Township officials received 14 bids for the 5,800-square-foot expansion to the senior center on Lanning Boulevard, but the bids were in excess of the architect’s estimate for the project.

“The recommendation from our architect is to reject them and go out for bids again. The bids were substantially over our funding,” Mayor Janice S. Mironov said at the East Windsor Township Council’s July 21 meeting.

The council unanimously approved a resolution rejecting the bids.

When Deputy Mayor Peter Yeager asked about the next step, Mironov said the re-bidding process would happen automatically. The township staff would advertise and seek new bids.

“I want to move on this sooner than later,” Yeager said.

The East Windsor Township Planning Board reviewed the plans for the expansion to the 11,000-square-foot senior center last month. Architect Lance Smith told the planners that because of wetlands issues, there is limited space for the expansion.

The expansion plan outlined by the architect calls for a 5,250-square-foot addition to the multipurpose room at the rear of the building, and a 785-square-foot expansion in front of the building for an exercise room.

The expansion is needed because of the increased growth in membership, Mironov said. It will allow the center to offer more classes, programs and special events for the growing number of senior citizens who frequent the center.

The center serves as a major focal point in the community, Mironov said.

“The senior center offers our senior citizens a great place to engage in a variety of recreational, educational and health-related programs and activities, as well as a place to hang out and socialize,” she said.

The expansion is being funded by a $1 million grant from the Mercer at Play program that is administered through Mercer County, and a $400,000 state grant through the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program. The state grant program is administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

East Windsor’s original senior center was in a small house on Dutch Neck Road near the Lee Turkey Farm, Mironov said. Everyone was together in the one-room building, whether they were playing card games or engaged in other activities.

But the burgeoning senior citizen population was outgrowing the building.

The chief executive officer of Springpoint Senior Living, the successor company to Presbyterian Homes of New Jersey, agreed to donate land to East Windsor for a new senior citizen center. The company operates the Meadow Lakes continuing care retirement community in the township.

The chief executive officer made it clear that the company was not going to pay for the building, so township officials set out to search for grants.

The township identified grants that were available from Mercer County, the state and the federal government. The rest of the money to pay for the facility was raised privately.

Ground was broken and the building was constructed. The East Windsor Senior Center opened its doors in 2003.