Putting senior center together again | SierraSun.com

Putting senior center together again

Jenny Goldsmith
Sierra Sun
Jenny Goldsmith/Sierra SunOwner Nathan Ruppert of Ruppert Inc. donates his time and machinery to help restore Trucke Donner Senior Apartments after flooding last January.
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After 11 months of insurance hassles and permitting issues, repairs have nearly restored the physical and social ambiance of Truckee’s senior center.

Last January, the community room at the Truckee Donner Senior Apartments endured extensive property damage when frozen pipes burst during a record cold snap, flooding the kitchen and dining room.

As a consequence, seniors were forced to dine at an alternate site, Sierra Senior Services found new quarters, and the center has been temporarily unable to host community events and meetings as it had in the past.

Nearly a year later, construction workers from Auburn-based Lawton Construction Ltd. have completed carpeting, painting and repairing the dining area, bathrooms and offices that were damaged in the Jan. 13-15 floods.

The only unfinished repairs are to the kitchen, but apartment manager Duane Jakob anticipates resuming food operations shortly after the new year.

“The community center is a vital meeting and social place for the seniors,” Jakob said. “They are beginning to gather again, and the atmosphere is definitely uplifting.”

When Jakob became site manager of the Senior Apartments in August, he said it was very clear he needed to restore the commons room as quickly as possible.

“So many people ” aside from just seniors ” were asking when the room would reopen,” he said. “It became painfully obvious to me the importance of what that room really means to the Truckee community.”

Aside from construction repairs, Jakob said his first goal was to replace the large wood-burning stove located in the center of the room. He approached Tom Just, an owner of Mountain Home Center in Truckee, for help with the project.

Just, who is also vice president of the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe’s community project division, decided the restoration would benefit the community, and agreed to donate the roughly $4,000 stove, which is scheduled to be installed today, Just said.

Just’s donation led other Contractors Association members, including Ruppert Inc., Teichert Aggregates, and Brimer Construction, to contribute their services as well, Jakob said.

“With the outpouring of everyone’s generosity, we now have a full-functioning room,” he said. “The sense of community giving seems to be the way people are in Truckee ” it’s extremely impressive.”

In addition to such senior activities as music, movie nights and exercise classes held in the room, other organizations are meeting there again, including Truckee’s Rotary Club and local church groups.

“It’s heart-warming to see how much takes place here,” Jakob said. “It’s not just an apartment complex; it’s a community-gathering place.”