February 22, 2017
The directors of the Senior Resource Center of Douglas County and Peaslee Technical Center are pleased with an arrangement that has made them neighbors for the next year.
The Senior Resource Center completed its move Jan. 22 into 3,500 square feet of Peaslee office space. The center will remain at Peaslee, 2920 Haskell Ave., while its downtown home at 745 Vermont St. is gutted and renovated in a joint City of Lawrence/Douglas County project that includes the adjoining Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Station No. 1. That work is expected to be completed in early spring 2018.
For Peaslee director Marvin Hunt, the arrival of the Senior Resource Center is part of a recent trend that has filled the tech center for the first time since it opened in August 2015. The tech center is also home to the Lawrence Workforce Center, and it was announced last month that API America would lease nearly 23,000 square feet of distribution and warehouse space at Peaslee in conjunction with the expansion of its East Hills Business Park operation.
The lease payments help Peaslee’s bottom line and the technical school’s overhead as it doesn’t have to pay utility costs on empty space, Hunt said. The only vacant space in the old Honeywell Avionics manufacturing facility is an area Peaslee has set aside for future classroom labs.
“It provides us with stability as we look to ramp up our offerings,” Hunt said.
Peaslee has made its common space available to its new neighbor, and it is now home to the pool table the Senior Resource Center moved in with its other furniture. Hunt and Marvel Williamson, Senior Resource Center executive director, said the pool table helped spur intergenerational bonds.
“Our construction students work in the back lot on a small house they are building,” Hunt said. “Now typically, they take a break to shoot pool with a group of seniors.”
Williamson said the interactions of visiting seniors with Peaslee students were energizing. She also has an eye on programming the current situation offers.
“Peaslee has a computer lab,” she said. “That’s something we don’t have. We’re looking to have computer classes and social media classes in there. That’s something that could definitely continue when we leave, either here or at the library.”
Her agency’s temporary space is a bit cramped, Williamson said. Some desks are located in the office suite’s large central aisle, and all available offices are home to two employees.
“We’re doubling up, but that’s OK for temporary space,” she said. “It’s working out well. People are finding us, we’re on a bus route and we have great parking. Our parking situation is better here than downtown.”
The move came two months after what was called the Douglas County Senior Center was rebranded as the Senior Resource Center of Douglas County. The rebranding defined the center’s mission as the information clearinghouse for senior services in Douglas County.
Williamson said that rebranding was bringing many more people through its door and to its website.
The Senior Resource Center’s new internet site, yourSRC.org, launched with the rebranding announcement, hasn’t been online long enough for her to dig into its analytics, Williamson said. She was confident when statistics can be analyzed in April they would show the new presence was getting many more hits than the agency’s old site.
“We know our email list is growing by hundreds every month, as are our newsletter subscribers,” she said.
Online and through-the-door traffic are looking for help on the key issues of Medicare, senior housing, transportation and in-home services, Williamson said. That last topic is of interest to seniors and their caregiver children, she said.
The through-the-door traffic to the Senior Resource Center provided another benefit to Peaslee, Williamson said.
“They’ve only been here a year and a half,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know who they are yet. We’re eager to share Peaslee’s story with our seniors, too.”