Senior Center construction on again off again |

Senior Center construction on again off again

Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun file photoIan Kauffman and Villa Gladding look at the damage caused by several water pipes broke in the kitchen of the Truckee Senior Center in January. Water flooded the building through the ceiling.

Although construction finally has started, contractors have yet to make significant progress to rehabilitate a Truckee senior center that was damaged early this year by flooding.

“The construction has started but it is on again, off again,” said Truckee Donner Senior Apartments Site Manager Duane Jakob.

Citing permitting hassles and insurance problems, Jakob could not predict a completion date or total cost of repair.

According to Truckee Mayor Richard Anderson the town received construction plans from the contractor on August 31.

“The town has reviewed the plans and is ready to issue a building permit, except staff needs a sign-off from the Nevada County Department of Environmental Health,” Anderson wrote in an e-mail.

The mayor said receiving the sign-off is the contractor’s responsibility.

Auburn-based Lawton Construction is awaiting approval from the department of environmental health said General Partner Brett Lawton. He said that his contracting company was the third company on the job.

The Senior Center endured extensive property damage when frozen pipes burst on Jan. 13 and again two days later during a record cold snap, flooding the kitchen and dining room.

To provide a place for meals, officials with Sierra Senior Services coordinated with the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District to serve hot lunches each workday at the Sierra Mountain Community Education Center in West Truckee. The school district owns the center.

“Tahoe Truckee School District, Blue Sky Home Center, Northstar and Tahoe Forest Hospital have gone above and beyond during this disaster,” said Executive Director Melanie Kauffman of Sierra Senior Services.

Both Tahoe Forest Hospital and Northstar at Tahoe provided the space needed for the daily lunches during the first few months after the senior center closed.

Sierra Senior Services hosts about 30 seniors each day for lunch, and provides 100 meals a day for delivery by the Meals on Wheels program throughout Truckee and the north and west shores of Lake Tahoe.

Blue Sky Home Center has provided the senior-aid agency with temporary office space that allowed Kauffman’s organization to rebuild some of the food delivery infrastructure lost when they were forced to move out of the senior apartments.

As for the community lunch, which used to be served in the cozy dining room at the senior apartments, the Town of Truckee has partnered with Aztec Transportation to provide free bus service to the Sierra Mountain facility in west Truckee. Although seniors seem comfortable at the temporary dining facility, not everyone is happy about the situation.

“Thirty people used to come out to lunch, but they don’t want to take the bus [from the senior apartments],” said Senior Apartments resident Lester O’Neil as he munched on a chicken-avocado salad. He was one of about 12 seniors at the temporary center Tuesday.

“It’s a big inconvenience to say the least,” said Glenshire resident Paul Valentine. “Soon election time is coming and we seniors will review [city officials’] efforts to fix the water problem at the senior center.”

But according to Lawton, it was Farmers Commercial Insurance company that refused bids from the two previous contractors that were on the job.

Regardless of responsibility for a not-so speedy solution, Senior Services activities have been put on hold since the center flooded. Activities included music, movies, knitting and meditation classes. Part of the center remains open including the laundry room, the property management offices and restrooms.

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