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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Seniors moving to CenterPlace

Three decades of odds, ends and senior center memories are moving into CenterPlace this week.

In addition to the standard tables and chairs, trucks are hauling games, kilns and ceramics supplies from the center’s old Mission Avenue location, near the park, to the new building at Mirabeau Point.

But locked doors are keeping most people out until next week, when the Spokane Valley Senior Center will host its first luncheon in the fancy new digs, which include a billiards parlor and a tile-covered fireplace.

“The pool players are over there trying to peek in the windows. It’s going to be lovely. They’re curious and excited,” said Karen Parson, a senior center specialist who helped manage the old facility, the center has about 900 members.

The new senior facility is located in a wing of CenterPlace, a $10 million community center that is owned by the city of Spokane Valley. The building was designed for multiple uses, including hosting college classes and special events such as weddings.

Senior lunches will be served at the facility starting on Tuesday. Regular classes and activities will resume the week of Sept. 12.

Along with traditional senior classes and activities, the center is adding Texas hold ‘em, bunco and conversational Spanish to the mix.

Ceramics classes, which have a loyal following of 40 students, will continue in a room that’s “20 times bigger” than the classroom in the old facility, said Debbie Strehlou, a volunteer instructor.

Two kilns will now be housed in a separate room, and the overall additional space has sparked enthusiasm for adding oil painting, flower arranging and scrapbooking classes, Strehlou said, adding, “It’s just depending on the community and what they want to do.”

Members of the Spokane Valley Senior Citizens Association sorted through all the items accumulated during the center’s 29 years of operations, donating things with historical value to the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum.

Because the billiards room in the new center is smaller, three pool tables were sold. The other six are being renovated with the help of $1,300 from the Dietz family, which established a memorial fund in honor of a family member who regularly played pool at the center.

While some seniors were initially apprehensive of the move, Parson said many are looking forward to the new building.

“It’s state-of-the-art over there,” Parson said. “It’s just absolutely gorgeous.”

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