The Andover Senior Center, which is about to undergo substantial renovations, will soon be temporarily relocated to the Ballard Vale United Church at 23 Clark Road.
When the renovated Senior Center reopens after that work, it will be named in memory of Donald W. and Victoria S. Robb, longtime volunteers in the community.
Beginning Dec. 2, the church will be the location of most programs offered by Andover Elder Services.
“We couldn’t be happier that we succeeded in finding a new, temporary home at Ballard Vale United Church,” said Jemma Lambert, director of community services.
“Just a few minutes outside of downtown Andover, the church offers 6,030 square feet of available space on 2 ½ floors, including a large activity room, numerous smaller rooms, 47 parking spaces, very comfortable handicapped-accessible activity space and a commercial kitchen,’’ she said. “It’s the perfect place for us to call home while the Senior Center is being renovated.”
Most of the Senior Center’s activities, including the congregate lunch, will be held at the church, which will be referred to as the Center at Ballard Vale. In addition to parking available at the church, MVRTA Bus 21 will change its route, with pick-up and drop-off at the church. The center’s transportation program will remain unchanged.
“This is a marvelous opportunity for our church to serve the community and connect with seniors,” said the Rev. Geisa Matos, pastor of Ballard Vale United Church. “We are ready to welcome the Andover Senior Center and I am personally eager to meet new people.”
Matos has led Ballard Vale United Church since June.
The last day that the Senior Center, also known as the Punchard Senior Center, will be open at its current site at 30 Whittier Court will be Nov. 22. On that day, a drop-in, informal goodbye celebration will be held, including light morning refreshments and afternoon coffee and desserts. The center will be closed during Thanksgiving week, Nov. 25 to 29.
After the Senior Center’s activities resume at the church on Dec. 2, the public is invited to visit during the first week for an informal open house and class registration. The Center at Ballard Vale will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. All phone numbers for staff and the Senior Center will remain unchanged.
“The idea was to replicate the Senior Center experiences, a place for people to socialize, have lunch and enjoy a variety of activities,” said Paul McKay, chairman of the Council on Aging.
The Senior Center’s administrative staff will move to Town Hall. Senior Connections, the adult social day program, will move to 2 Dundee Park on Monday of this week.
While most activities and classes will be held at the church, some programs will be offered at the Cormier Youth Center, Bridges at Epoch, Stonehill at Andover, The Savings Bank and Enterprise Bank. A complete list of locations will be available in the Senior Center’s newsletter.
Donald Robb, who died Oct. 13, served on the School Committee for 10 years and was also a member of the Finance Committee. His other community activities included the Cultural Council, the Andover Sister Towns Association and the Council on Aging.
He was a board member and past president of Andover’s Center for History and Culture. Robb was a strong supporter of the effort to renovate the Senior Center and an advocate for the Historic Mill District project.
The Rotary Club honored him as an Andover Citizen Who Cares in 2006. He received the Virginia Cole Community Service Award at the annual Town Meeting in 2008.
The Board of Selectmen voted to name the upgraded Senior Center for the Robbs shortly after his death. Victoria Robb predeceased her husband.