Air conditioning should be pumping today at Senior Center

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 25, 2000

Visitors to the Natchez Senior Citizen Multi Purpose Center will soon find it a much cooler place – hopefully.

Renovations to the former school have been ongoing for more than a year, but one detail still unfinished is the installation of air conditioning.

Dan Dillard, project coordinator for Waycaster & Associates, said the renovation project is &uot;nearing completion,&uot; and the remaining air conditioning units could be installed as early as today.

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&uot;It’s been a long time coming,&uot; Dillard said.

Most of the rooms in the three-story building located at 800 Washington St., already have air conditioning, but at least four areas rely on electric fans and open windows to ease the heat.

One of these areas is the recreation room where many seniors gather to play a game of pool, dominoes or checkers.

M.K. Cassels said he visits the senior center several times a week, and the heat can become unbearable.

&uot;We need this air conditioning in here bad,&uot; Cassels said. &uot;It’s been out all summer somebody’s dragging their feet.&uot;

Senior center Executive Director Sabrena Bartley said &uot;unforeseen&uot; obstacles in the renovation process have extended the work.

&uot;The building is so old, and when they got started, they ran into things they didn’t anticipate,&uot; Bartley said.

Crews were surprised to find several inches of concrete lying beneath wooden flooring in one room, and Bartley said workers drilling holes in walls found pipes in their path that were not shown on original plans.

Dillard also blamed unforeseen obstacles, including altered building plans, for the project’s delay.

&uot;It’s a difficult project when you do any renovation,&uot; Dillard said.

&uot;But, this one’s been especially difficult because the building is so old.&uot;

The air conditioning units that are in place did little to help last week’s intense heat and several seniors chose to stay home rather than visit the center, Bartley said.

John Davis was one of the few who chose to endure the temperatures.

&uot;It was like an oven,&uot; Davis said, adding that it &uot;ran some people off.&uot;

Bartley recognizes the effect the heat has on the center’s visitors and said she is looking forward to the project’s completion.

&uot;We’re just moving along pretty slowly, but we are moving,&uot; Bartley said.