Staff Photo: Jason Braverman George Griffith, a volunteer at the Bethesda Park Senior Center talks about his love for working at the center since 1998 and the renovations that were recently made.
LAWRENCEVILLE — When George Griffith entered the Bethesda Senior Center on Thursday, he felt like he was back at home.
The 85-year-old took his new place behind a wood welcome desk, grateful that he could resume his job as a volunteer greeter, now that a four-month renovation is complete.
“Everything in here has changed,” Griffith said, marveling at the hardwood floors and warm colors, the new glass sign behind the desk and the art along the walls painted by seniors in the local art class. “It looks beautiful. When people come in and see it, they can’t believe it.”
With the center closed for the work through the summer, Griffith said he missed the many friends he had made while volunteering the past 13 years and he was glad to see them again Thursday.
The Council for Seniors, an organization that coordinates the dozens of local senior clubs and advocacy groups, met Thursday at the facility today, the annual senior services prom will be held there.
“Welcome back,” Kerri Cardiello, program supervisor of the center said. “I think you all would agree we have a beautiful new facility.”
Earlier this week, commissioners approved a change to the contract for the renovation, accounting for the changes that needed to be made when mold was discovered. All told, the project cost about $700,000, mostly funded by a county sales tax.
During the council meeting, Chairwoman Charlotte Nash praised seniors for acting as role models and for volunteer efforts that help their friends and help save government dollars.
“I was just blown away when I walked in the door,” Nash said of the renovations to the nearly 20-year-old center, located at Bethesda Park off Ronald Reagan Parkway. “It was wonderful to see the way things have been upgraded.”
About 1,800 seniors participate each month in activities ranging from art, computer or Spanish classes, book, knitting and card clubs, exercise and gardening programs, Cardiello said.