West Ashley Senior Center is getting very, very close to opening

by Bill Davis | News Editor

When is the municipal Waring Senior Center going to open in West Ashley, every silver fox wants to know?

That’s a good question. Soon?

Four months behind on its original open date, it was a shame that the opening wasn’t the week after Thanksgiving when city staffers gave West Of Free Press an exclusive, sneak-peak.

The sun was shining, the trees along the esplanade leading were close to bursting into balls of orange and red. The air was crisp. Perfect day for a ribbon cutting.

That is, if someone could haul oversized scissors around the men tamping down dirt, while others placed safety tiles, and still others hung tempered safety glass.

Other than that, and the furniture still being wrapped in plastic, and the sheets of tough walkable paper glued to the floor, the center is close to opening.

Beth Brownlee, the city’s senior construction manager who is in charge of the building the 16,000-square-foot multi-use facility hopes to have the keys in hand in the next few weeks … so she can hand them over to Roper St. Francis, who will run the facility.

After Roper’s people have settled in, the city’s Director of Parks Jason Kronsberg the grand opening would occur soon after. “So, early next year,” says an enthusiastic Brownlee.

Both agree that issues like weather and all the competing construction in Charleston luring away subcontractors have slowed the project.

But, when it’s opened, it will be great.

First things first. Yes, it is nicer than the city’s senior center on James Island. It will be newer, and built in a manner more at home in current times. It will have more complete fitness offerings.

And it has made great use of its windows looking out into the woods that surround it, giving it a “gentle respite” feel, despite being a stone’s throw from Interstate 526 and Roper Hospital. There will be a café and eating porch; a see-through fireplace that links one of the common rooms to a massive screened-in porch that overlooks a tree-filled vista.

More than 100 parking spots cut in and out of tree’d areas, and there is a golf cart shed for helping elderly patrons get to and from their cars. There’s even the a pickleball court, with four courts, fenced off across a creek and surround by protected wetlands.

Everything is modern and clean and waiting. Just like West Ashley, waiting.

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