The Township of Willingboro sought to create a state–of–the–art senior center to provide innovative and adaptive programs for seniors. The plan was to create a 14,000 square foot center within a wing of a decommissioned high school. The challenge was to transform the existing space, consisting of only restrooms, classrooms and a 13-foot corridor, into an inviting and stimulating area.
The design solution developed by DMR was a departure from the Township’s original plan, which simply translated the proposed program within the existing layout. DMR’s collaborative design process with the end users resulted in a bold plan to demolish some of the classrooms.
The completed Willingboro Senior Center includes a lobby, main gathering area and instructional spaces. The lobby includes a round welcome desk at the center of the circular opening, providing an easy approach from all sides. The main gathering area offers game tables, grouped seating, a double-sided fireplace and an open coffee station, while maintaining smaller spaces for individuality. Instructional spaces are visually connected through display windows. Guardrails and benches along corridors allow for seniors to move safely throughout the facility. Display cases replace a portion of the existing lockers, showcasing art produced by the seniors.