Osceola County senior center renovations progressing steadily

Opening planned for late July or August

Renovations on the former Hersey Elementary School are progressing steadily, with plans to open the new Osceola County COA senior center in late July or August.

Renovations on the former Hersey Elementary School are progressing steadily, with plans to open the new Osceola County COA senior center in late July or August.

Pioneer file photo

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Renovations on the former Hersey Elementary School in Hersey are “moving steadily along,” getting the building ready for opening of the new Osceola County Commission on Aging Senior Center, said COA director Justin Halladay.

Halladay updated the board of commissioners on the progress of the renovations during its meeting last week, saying things are not progressing as quickly as he had hoped.

“The offices themselves are the frustrating part,” Halladay said. “The gentleman we picked (to do the work) told me he could get started right away and he hasn’t started yet. I have been in contact with him about getting things ordered, and he hasn’t done that. Last week he said he was still two to three weeks out because things got tied up. With that, I am requesting the board's permission to move to the second bidder if he is unable to get started on the project.”

The board authorized Halladay to do what needed to be done to get the project moving.

“The main areas being done right now are the interior offices construction, plumbing and IT work,” Halladay told the Pioneer. “Plumbing and IT is mostly completed. We are still waiting for some materials and equipment to be delivered. 

He added the interior construction of the offices has been delayed as the original contractor has pulled out from the process and they have moved to the runner up bidder. 

“Hopefully, this speed bump is over and we can proceed quickly,” he said. “I was originally hoping to open the facility in June, but now it is looking more like late July or August.”

Halladay said once the project items are completed, there are still some miscellaneous things that will need to be done, including the septic inspection and the inspection of the facility for licensing.

Once completed, the new senior center will serve Reed City, Evart, Hersey, Richmond Township, Lincoln Township, and Cedar Township, Halladay said. 

The size of the new facility will allow him to move the COA administrative offices to the new location, as well, and possibly bring the Veterans’ services department there and, eventually, move the meal preparation from Tustin to the new location, he said previously.

“The kitchen staff, the administrative staff, everybody will be in one spot,” he said. “We can combine some of our services and not be so spread out.”

With this new facility, they can give the seniors in Osceola County something they have not had before, including educational opportunities and activities that are not available at the current meal sites, he added.

“I know my staff, clients and the community are excited to have the facility available and open soon,” he said.


In other business, the board approved listing the Evart COA building with a realtor to market it to a broader audience.

Halladay told the board he had a yard sign made that said, “Building For Sale/Inquire Within,” but it had been destroyed, and so far they have not gotten any inquiries on the building.

“I would like the board to entertain the idea of listing it with a realtor to get it out there on the market,” he said. “I don’t think it will sell otherwise.”

The board decided previously to sell the Evart building and the Tustin meal site facility, once they have been vacated. The county is asking $400,000 for the Evart building.

Halladay said a realtor did a walk through at the Tustin building to get a market breakdown and comparables and has recommended an asking price of $110,000 to $115,000.