Seniors at the Ascension Parish Council on Aging will have more room to play games, exercise, learn and attend large gatherings once a two-room addition is complete.

The 1,000-square-foot addition to the Council on Aging’s Gonzales Senior Center, 526 S. Irma Blvd., is about “halfway there,” COA Director Darlene Schexnayder said of the center’s expansion and extensive remodel.

The addition includes a multipurpose area, complete with a pool table, and new office space.

“The building (of the addition) has been framed,” Schexnayder said. The drywall will be installed, and the doors will be delivered soon, she added.

While waiting on the addition to take shape, the existing building is getting a much-needed face-lift while maintaining the aesthetics of the original building, minus the 1970s bathroom, Schexnayder said, laughing. The bathroom will be remodeled.

Crews are painting the existing facility and choosing new flooring, she said. The center was last remodeled in 2003.

The $661,481 project, which includes the additions and the renovations to the original building, is being paid for with revenue from a 1.5-mill property tax, which was renewed for 10 years in 2013.

“We’ve been saving up for months,” Schexnayder said, adding that she’s sad to see this year’s Mardi Gras celebration canceled because the center is too small to host the growing event.

About 80 seniors visit the center daily, not including those who come strictly to exercise, play pool, play bridge, knit or engage in other hobbies and educational programs.

The center hosts about three large parties a year, including its Mardi Gras celebration, which draws an average of 150 people, Schexnayder said.

With the added office space, Schexnayder said, she will now spend more time at the Gonzales location. The Ascension COA also has a location in Donaldsonville at 101 Bocage Drive.

“This will give me a little more space to interact with the clients on the east bank,” Schexnayder said.

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