New Clark County seniors building to have historic city pieces

Focus on the Positive Springfield

Renovations on the new United Senior Services Center in Springfield are in full swing with plans to incorporate several pieces of downtown history.

Work to the building at 125 W. Main St. will incorporate pieces from the former Memorial Hall that stood on the corners of Main Street and Lowry Avenue from 1916 when it was built until it was demolished in 2010.

“Now that we’re watching the metamorphosis, it’s very exciting. It’s becoming more and more real to us,” said Maureen Fagans, United Senior Services executive director.

The goal is to move from the current center, 101 S. Fountain Ave., to the new facility by the fall of 2016, she said.

Currently, construction crews are busy inside and outside of the building.

As people in the city watch the progress, which includes cutting out dozens of window spaces in the walls, Fagans said one of most-asked questions is if the now-blue exterior will stay.

“No! That’s a vapor barrier, and we are going to finish out the exterior with a brick façade,” she said, laughing.

Inside many intricate artifacts — including marble, stained glass panels and the iconic wooden ticket booth from inside of Memorial Hall — will live on in the new Senior Services center, Fagans said.

The group Healthy Cities saved the items from the historic building when they renovated it and donated them to the senior services group.

Including the pieces of Memorial Hall into the renovations will hopefully mean 100 or more years of “new life” for the old architecture, said Roger Sherrock, CEO of the Clark County Heritage Center.

“(The Memorial Hall pieces) are approaching 100 years of age right now, and I’m sure United Senior Services is going to be around another 100 years, and to have them as part of the building and construction will be wonderful,” Sherrock said.

The pieces of Memorial Hall have been preserved in the Heritage Center since they were removed during demolition.

The historic artifacts will require a lot of refurbishment before they are put into place at their new home, Sherrock said.

The pieces from Memorial Hall are one-of-a-kind, Fagans said, and once Thomas and Marker Construction of Bellefontaine — the construction team in charge of the multi-million dollar project — saw them, they knew they had to find a place to put them.

“They quickly recognized an opportunity to create a special room of Memorial Hall,” she said.

The memorabilia will inhabit a multi-purpose meeting room. Many groups, such as bridge teams and book clubs, have already inquired to reserve the space, Fagans said.

Another piece of history the renovation will preserve is the wooden dance floor that was at the Eagles’ building for almost 50 years.

Many people called to ask Fagans if the dance floor would stay, she said, and architects have incorporated it into one of the rooms.

The renovation will also re-use donated furniture from IH Credit Union and Assurant, Fagans said, in offices and common spaces.