Years in the making, the Princeton Senior Resource Center (PSRC) cut the ribbon on a new facility that expands operations to Poor Farm Road.
The nonprofit organization unveiled the Nancy S. Klath Center for Lifelong Learning, which is located at 101 Poor Farm Road, during an official ribbon cutting ceremony held on Nov. 4.
“The board is absolutely thrilled to have this new facility. We are very gratified by the donors and the people who stepped as donors and made this possible,” Board President Joan Girgus said. “This is going to make us be able to serve so many more people in so many different ways.”
The new building, which has been renovated and redesigned, gives the organization more space to provide programs to seniors in Princeton and will also be the location for staff offices that have been relocated from the organization’s headquarters at the Suzanne Patterson Building.
“The board of PSRC has been looking for a new location since 2007. Knowing that space is a problem and knowing that we needed additional space to be able to offer what we offer,” said Drew Dyson, CEO of PSRC. “Two years ago, we went into a process to investigate all the available properties in Princeton and when we came to Poor Farm Road it was just a beautiful setting.”
Dyson and PSRC’s board found that parking at the office building on Poor Farm Road also made the site an attractive location to become the new facility for PSRC.
“We currently do not have a lot of parking at the Suzanne Patterson Building, but the new facility does. Then the flexibility in the building to be able to create a dynamic learning center,” Dyson added. “So what was an office building has really been completely gutted and redesigned with adult learning in mind. We have done that not only in the building and classroom space, but also invested significantly in the technology to enable us to do hybrid learning.”
For PSRC, the new building and space was needed as the organization had outgrown the space provided by its headquarters at the Suzanne Patterson Building on Stockton Street.
“Between the two spaces, we are going to be able to be really active in a continuing way without having to rent out spaces that might not serve as well,” Girgus said. “Also separate what goes on in those spaces from what is going on at Suzanne Patterson. Now everything is going to be brought together and there is going to be synergy.”
The board and staff at PSRC would rent off-site spaces in local churches and other facilities around Princeton for classes that are offered and even in Lawrenceville to accommodate the growth of programs and participants.
The new facility means the organization would not have to pay rent for off-site facilities.
“The PSRC has been at the Suzanne Patterson Building for the last 30 years. We had outgrown the space from a programming standpoint, parking and number of different things,” Dyson said. “The new facility will supplement that space. It will provide a world class learning center for our lifelong learning programs for older adults and creates a gathering place for seniors in the community.”
The Nancy S. Klath Center for Lifelong Learning at Poor Farm Road is 12,000 square feet and the Suzanne Patterson Building is just under 6,000 square feet. What can’t be replicated at the new facility is the large gymnasium at Suzanne Patterson.
“We really developed it as a multi-site campus, where we will have some of our classes and activities will remain at Suzanne Patterson. We will have our exercise classes, art classes and some of the things that will require more of the gymnasium and the art room we have at the site, so we will continue to offer programs there. The site at Poor Farm Road is more of a classroom space, technology center and a place for people to gather.”
Because PSRC relocated their staff offices to the new building they are converting what the section of space at the Suzanne Patterson Building into an additional classroom.
“There will be minor changes to the Suzanne Patterson Building,” Dyson said.
He added that the nonprofit has been working with the municipality so that the new facility will be serviced by Princeton’s free municipal bus service and also highlighted that New Jersey Transits 606 bus stops near the facility at Princeton Care Center on Bunn Drive.
At the ceremony, local officials and residents were able to tour the building and view the new technology lab, office spaces, lounge, kitchen, common area, classroom and meeting spaces on the two floors.
“I think this facility is really important and lets PSRC up their game even more. There is a steady trend over a number of years to expand services and provide better services,” Mayor Mark Freda said. “And now instead of being scattered all over Princeton and in Lawrence they can do pretty much everything from right here. It is a very nice facility and a great improvement.”
The Princeton Senior Resource Center is currently conducting open houses for the next six weeks and in November and December will start with hybrid classes to test the technology at the new facility.
Full programming is planned for January 2022.