WINDER - For seven years, Keith Adams packaged Meals on Wheels using the top of a copy machine in a narrow hallway in the Winder-Barrow Adult Day Care Center.
"The hallway that leads to the restroom," Adams said. "It got crowded when a wheelchair came through."
Now Adams has a bright new kitchen in which to work. Through an intergovernmental agreement between Winder and Barrow County, a 5,280-square-foot adult day care center opens today on Lee Street near Victor Lord Park, built by Bevins Enterprises of Fayetteville.
A 2005 Community Development Block Grant award of $500,000 paid most of the $650,000 construction costs, Ben Carter said, architect for Carter Watkins and Associates.
Barrow County contributed a little more than an acre of land next to the work release center, while Winder added $25,000 and some one-cent sales tax money.
No property tax money was spent on the center.
Since 1979, seniors and their families have depended upon an 1,800-square-foot, 75-year-old facility at 49 East New St. that served 15 seniors and a staff of four. The increased space now allows the center to serve 30 seniors.
The center is run through the Athens Community Council on Aging. The new building has an exam area, living room, general purpose room, office space, small kitchen and an outdoor garden area. It serves adults age 65 and older who do not require 24-hour care, including those who suffer from Alzheimer's, dementia and physical impairments. Meals on Wheels and the Healthy Grandparents program will continue to work from the new building.
The airy, sunny facility is healthier and safer for clients, said Kathryn Fowler, executive director of the Athens Community Council on Aging.
"As we get older, we benefit more from sunlight," Fowler said. "The front door is not obvious. If they wander out the back door, the area is enclosed."
The adult day care center has a full-time nurse on staff and provides medical monitoring, meals, therapeutic activities and personal care services. They accept Medicaid, private pay and can recommend certain grants to help with costs.