The Norfolk Senior Center has been closed to the public since the beginning of February following a pipe burst that resulted in extensive damage to the building.
Despite taking several precautions ahead of the unusually cold weather that occurred over the weekend that the pipe burst, including increasing the heat and keeping doors open to allow for the proper circulation of heat, the temperatures were too low. This caused the pipe to burst above the ceiling space on the side of the building near the front desk and the office to the left of the front desk. The burst resulted in the ceiling in those areas to collapse and pools of water to collect on the ground, which caused damage to the top floor and all of the downstairs floor.
Since the center was closed, the Facilities Department, headed by Director of Facilities Matt Haffner, has worked with the town’s insurance carrier to expedite the initial water mitigation and to come up with approved values to complete the repairs to the building.
The facility has since been fully dried out and multiple large dumpsters have hauled away damaged building materials, along with programming items, electronics, and supplies.
A major hurdle the Senior Center had to overcome during its renovation efforts was the building’s elevator. The unit had two feet of oily water in the pit of the machine as a result of the pipe burst. To get rid of this water, a hazmat crew was hired to remove and properly dispose of the liquid. The elevator also had to be repaired before undergoing a safety inspection by the state.
The facility has received much-improved insulation for the damaged spaces, and drywall and plastering are nearing completion. Damaged lighting fixtures and fire alarm modules have also been replaced, and the HVAC systems have been inspected.
The Council on Aging team has worked collaboratively with the Facilities team to select paint colors, flooring materials, cabinets and furniture, which have been ordered but are delayed.
“There is much work to still be completed before the center reopens to the public. As a joint team, we are truly excited for the facility to open its doors with many new finishes throughout the interior and to show off the building’s wonderful new exterior,” Council on Aging Director Karen Edwards said.
It is expected that the Senior Center will reopen to the public sometime in the summer, either July or August, once all renovations are completed.
Since the closure of the Senior Center, the Norfolk Council on Aging has worked diligently to ensure continuity of services and programming. The library has hosted events and programming out of a temporary office in Norfolk Town Hall, and larger programs such as Bingo and fitness classes have been held at the Norfolk Grange.
Metacomet Public Health Alliance Public Health Nurse Jeanine Murphy has been available to senior residents by appointment between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. every Wednesday at the Town Hall.
Senior residents needing assistance can visit the Council on Aging between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday in person at the Town Hall, or can conduct business via phone at 508-528-4430. The physical office is closed on Fridays, however, business can be conducted via telephone.
The office/conference room is located close to the back entrance off of the parking lot. It’s the second door on the left that is painted light green.
The Council on Aging is planning to host a soft opening followed by a grand reopening at a later date. Until further notice, community members are asked to avoid the Senior Center and the area surrounding it as it is a construction site.
“The Council on Aging and our Senior Center have received tremendous support throughout this whole ordeal, however, we would like to note that even before the pipe burst we had a dedicated team who ensured that our facility was well-kept and operating smoothly,” Director Edwards said. “Unfortunately, the pipe burst was out of our control and since then we have been working hard to ensure that we offer the same level of services as we did when the building was open. We are greatly looking forward to reopening our center to the public and having the opportunity to once again serve as a hub of activities for our senior residents.”