The North Berkeley Senior Center opened Aug. 29 after being delayed by the complications of COVID-19 since last spring, as first reported by Berkeleyside.
Pandemic-imposed labor and supply chain shortages slowed operations for the center’s contractor, according to Tanya Bustamante, the manager for the city of Berkeley’s Health, Housing and Community Services Department Aging Services Division.
During the closure, the center also underwent aesthetic and infrastructural improvements including seismic, safety and environmental sustainability upgrades.
“I’m so proud that we now have an earthquake-retrofitted building that includes solar powered energy, new HVAC, and various cosmetic improvements for the enjoyment of our senior community in Berkeley,” Bustamante said in an email. “Our senior center members have commented on the abundance of natural light and multi-use functionality of our rooms.”
Bustamante added that staff at both the North Berkeley Senior Center and the Judge Henry Ramsey Jr. South Berkeley Senior Center provide referrals and counseling services. They also offer a variety of classes and activities including chair exercise, ping pong, line dancing and art, to name a few.
According to a recent newsletter from city councilmember Kate Harrison, classes will be offered virtually as well as in person. The North Berkeley Senior Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is closed on Tuesdays. Registration for center services is free.
Access to the north and south centers is important, Bustamante added, because the number of senior citizens is on the rise.
“Adults age 60+ are the fastest growing segment of the population nationwide,” Bustamante said in the email. “As our senior community increases, the need for services geared toward this sub-population also increases. The City of Berkeley is fortunate to have two senior centers that enable our senior community members to thrive.”