AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Amarillo College hosted a public forum at its downtown campus on Wednesday to address concerns from the Amarillo Senior Citizens Association about the relocation of the senior center.
Amarillo Senior Citizens Association (ASCA) members initially worried the originally proposed move would not give them enough space, among other concerns.
Since the passage of AC’s bond back in May, the proposed move has been a point of contention.
AC leaders said the public forum was about getting all ASCA members into one room to talk about what the college is calling “a new path forward.”
AC’s new plan for the senior citizens center aims to address ASCA’s primary concerns: space, meals, and the new lease agreement.
“There’s lots of pieces that have to be worked out but overall, this is great,” said Judy Jackman, an ASCA board member who will head negotiations with AC’s leadership
The plan includes more than 12,000 sq. feet between the band hall, more classroom and office space across the hall, and access to the gym upon request.
Jackman said she likes the newly proposed changes. She also said it was important to her to see the majority of AC’s board of regents in attendance.
“Initially Amarillo College didn’t think there was room for the pool tables. Well, we have a room for the pool tables, we have a room for the quilters. That’s so exciting,” Jackman added.
Another potential change includes how seniors will get hot meals. AC has proposed a partnership between ASCA and Faith City Mission. The college has said the details of that relationship are not yet defined. Currently, Jackman said it costs seniors $6 to eat at the senior center.
Mark White, the executive vice president of Amarillo College, said he thinks after months of working to address ASCA’s concerns, they are ready to move forward.
“There will be some finer points and details to be negotiated as we look toward a written lease but I’m confident that it can be done if ASCA wants that done,” White said.
ASCA’s lease would also be less expensive. They would pay $1,500/mo. and AC would cover utilities.
“I am thrilled about that,” Jackman said. “Because if we could reduce our membership fees, we could have more seniors. That’s what we’re all about.”
Jackman said ASCA is looking forward to negotiating with AC to reach an agreement. Negotiations will need to be reached by Sept. 19 so AC can finalize the lease agreement on Sept. 24.
If no agreement is reached, ASCA will move out of its current space on Feb. 28, 2020. If they do make a new agreement, ASCA will move into its newly renovated space on March 1.