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New home, new opportunities

Ferry’s senior center will also relocate to former South School building

March 17, 2011
By MIKE HUGHES, Prime Times

MARTINS FERRY - Belmont Senior Services, which recently purchased the former South School building in town, isn't the only entity that will benefit from the increased room and usability of the structure.

The Martins Ferry Senior Center will also be relocating to the senior services building.

Ferry's center, which was temporarily housed recently at the recreation center, is back at its former home at 14 North 5th Street.

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BELMONT?SENIOR?Services recently purchased the former South School building in Martins Ferry. Along with relocating senior services to the building, the Martins Ferry Senior Center will also be calling the structure home after renovations are completed.

And while the current home of Ferry's senior activities is cozy and familiar, interim director Lois Kwiatkowski is looking forward to the increase and size and versatility South School offers.

''It has a lot of potential,'' Kwiatkowski said. ''We'll have use of the auditorium, a big room for the base of our center and our own private kitchen.

''It'll be nice.''

The kitchen currently housed at South School is serviceable, but won't meet the particular needs of its main future tenant.

Senior Services not only provides the daily meals for the county's senior centers but also operates the mail delivery program for elderly residents throughout the county.

That will necessitate the construction of a new kitchen facility to operate those programs. Because of that decision, it allows the Ferry center to make use of the current kitchen facility.

A major plan that Kwiatkowski has for her center and members is a possible exercise room.

The interest in maintaining physical fitness continues to rise and now that the room is available, the director wants to make it happen, not only for current members but also to attract new members to the center.

''We're thinking about having an exercise room,'' Kwiatkowski said. ''Exercise is really the number one thing with all the baby boomers coming in. It's very important to them to keep in shape and stay healthy.

''We want to offer programs on fitness and nutrition, things like that.

''We'll also continue to offer chair volleyball, which the extra room will be great because we can invite the other centers to come in and the members can compete against each other.''

Kwiatkowski said the center currently has a few pieces of exercise equipment that she can utilize to start the exercise room. At the current location, the Ferry center doesn't have the room to properly utilize it though and it's been kept in storage. Fortunately, that will no longer be the case.

''That's our top priority,'' Kwiatkowski said. ''Also we'd like to get a ping-pong table, shuffle board ... we want to have activities that will attract men to join and take part.

''It's hard to get men involved with senior centers any more and my goal is to find something to attract them and get them to join and participate.''

The use of the gymnasium may allow the Ferry center to host some of the bigger events that combined all the senior centers for one large outing. Currently, the Colerain, Centerville and occasionally Bellaire Senior Centers only have the ability to host such events.

The move won't come overnight. Renovations to the building are needed and the contracts to perform the associated work have yet to be assigned.

''We're probably looking at late fall before we can move in,'' Kwiatkowski said.

''It'll be a lot of work but I really believe it will be better up there and I'm happy the commissioners went ahead and did what they did.

''Senior services is growing, day by day, and it will need more transportation, more meals. This is a good thing.''

Hughes may be reached at



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