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Bloomfield Township

January 23, 2013

Senior Center expands hours, aims for more activities

By Robin Ruehlen
C & G Staff Writer

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Senior Center expands hours, aims for more activities
Virginia Hills, of Bloomfield Township, walks on a treadmill at the Bloomfield Township Senior Center. The senior center recently expanded its hours due to increased demand.

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — There’s good news for Bloomfield Township seniors who struggled to match their schedules to limited activity hours at the Senior Center.

Due to increased demand, especially from those seniors who still work, the center has now expanded its availability to 75 hours per week and hopes to expand its program offerings, as well.

Executive Director Christine Tvaroha said customer requests led the center to start planning for an expansion back in May.

“It does take time because there’s the budget component, staffing, hiring and training,” she said.

“It’s great for our current customers, and of course we’re hoping to attract people who, so far, have not been able to participate in our programs.”

The center was previously open 63 hours per week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. As of Jan. 2, the new hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

Tvaroha said that, at last count in November, the center had 9,000 active senior profiles. It averages about 100 new profiles each month.

Another aspect of the expanded hours is the need to hire more people — from fitness and other class instructors to lifeguards.

“We are hoping to get the word out to talented people in our area to see if they’ll come in and start teaching new classes with us,” Tvaroha said.

“We hired another part-time receptionist for our evening hours, and we’re in need of lifeguards, too. It’s a perfect job for a high school or college student because the hours are in the evenings, after school activities.”

Township resident Diana Freeburg, 51, said she was finally able to join the center because of the expanded hours.

“I go a lot in the morning, if I don’t have client meetings, and I’ll also go after work. But there was no way I could make it there by 4 p.m. on Fridays,” she said.

“I’ve also noticed a lot more younger people there now … since the hours have changed. It’s a good mix – you see everyone from age 50 to over 80.”

Freeburg said she prefers the center rather than other health clubs because of the relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

“It’s just a different vibe than going to one of the big gyms. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. You have to go through an orientation before you can use the equipment, and they tell you where to set the seats, how to operate it. It’s not intimidating at all.”

The center is looking to hear from customers on some other non-fitness activities they would like to see in the main level in the evenings.

“We’ve had suggestions for things like bridge, and we’re working on that,” Tvaroha said.

“It’s a beautiful window of opportunity to plan new things and really have our senior center be customer-focused and customer-driven.”

For more information, call (248) 723-3500. The Bloomfield Township Senior Center is located at 4315 Andover Road in Bloomfield Township.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Robin Ruehlen at rruehlen@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1105.