Senior center to reopen as Arlington Community Center

ARLINGTON, MA — Renovations are nearing completion at the Arlington Central School building at Academy and Maple streets.

Work began in March 2020, and after two years of staggered work, the building will reopen to the public as the Arlington Community Center next month.

The $8 million project achieved four goals:

  • Develop a modern, expanded ground and first floor space dedicated to the Council on Aging, the Arlington Senior Association, and community events and activities
  • Improve major building systems including HVAC, electrical, bathrooms and building exterior
  • Relocation of the Department of Health and Human Services, including Veterans Services, to the 2nd floor; and
  • Retrofitting the building to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act

Seniors can enjoy comfortable social spaces in the community center, including a bright and sunny art room, a waiting room for relaxed socializing, work spaces with internet access, a cafe, a library with a fireplace, a yoga room, a game room, a lounge equipped with two tournament-size pool tables, and a new commercial kitchen for cooking classes and nutrition seminars.

Minuteman Senior Services will use the kitchen daily for Meals on Wheels and group meals. The offices of the Council on Aging will be reconfigured to allow elderly residents to access social services in one central location.

“When the plans for the community center were first created, we had no idea that a global pandemic would have a severe impact on all of our lives,” said Kristine Shah, director of the Council on Aging. “The timing of reopening couldn’t be more crucial, as so many older adults have struggled with social isolation over the past two years. To keep our seniors safe, and thanks to technology upgrades, our Programs will be available in a hybrid format, allowing those who are comfortable attending events/activities in person and others to participate virtually.”

The Council on Aging and the Arlington Seniors Association thanked community members for raising more than $170,000 for the center’s new furnishings. Additionally, the cafe, library, art room, billiard room, and yoga room were sponsored by local families and businesses.

“The Arlington Community Center is a tremendous asset to the city that can be enjoyed in many ways,” Jennifer Raitt, Arlington’s director of planning and community development, said in a statement. “We look forward to when we can welcome the public to these spaces in the near future.”

Several renovated and upgraded rooms will be available for hire for meetings and events. Spaces that can be rented include the main hall – which has received acoustic and technological upgrades and can be divided into two rooms – meeting rooms and the art room. The commercial kitchen will also be available for hire for events, by caterers and entrepreneurs looking to start and grow successful food businesses.

The rooms are offered by the Ministry of Land Use Planning and Community Development.

Jill E. Washington