July 15, 2024 Donate

Dexter, Dexter Government

Dexter Community Schools is Forming an Official Plan to Buy the Dexter Wellness Center and Build a New Senior Center

The Dexter Wellness Center, at 2810 Baker Road, is seen here with the vacant land in front of it. photo by Lonnie Huhman

With help from what Dexter Community Schools Superintendent Chris Timmis calls a unique collaboration, a plan to bring both a community center and senior center to Dexter was officially put before the school board and community.

The plan calls for the purchase of the Dexter Wellness Center to make it the new community center and construction of a new Dexter Senior Center.

In a message to the community about the Feb. 26 meeting of the DCS Board of Education, Timmis said the school board discussed two letters of intent (LOIs). He said the first LOI is to purchase the Dexter Wellness Center from state grant funds to create a community center, and the second LOI is to build a new 9,000 square foot Dexter Senior Center on Baker Road.

Both projects would be funded by grant funds specifically to create a Senior and Community Center.

“Through unbelievable collaboration between several community groups including Dexter Community Schools, Dexter Senior Center, 5 Healthy Towns, and A.R. Brouwer, we are able to utilize $8.5 million in state grant funds to purchase a 40,000plus square feet state-of-the-art Wellness Center and build a 9,000 plus square feet Dexter Senior Center for our community,” Timmis said in the message to the community.

This past year, DCS received an $8.5 million state allocation to acquire, construct, renovate and establish a program for a senior and community center.

It was announced last July that following this year’s state budget process, local legislators were able to bring home a higher-than-anticipated budget item for FY 2024 that will allow the development of a multigenerational center in the Dexter community. Because the school district boundaries could be defined as the “Dexter community,” DCS is taking the lead in bringing these two opportunities to the community.

The school district serves students and the community throughout an 84-square-mile school district in both Washtenaw and Livingston counties. The district boundaries encompass the city of Dexter plus parts of 8 other townships including Dexter Township, Webster Township, Scio Township, Northfield Township, Hamburg Township, Lima Township, Freedom Township and Lodi Township.

Timmis said DCS has been working with district attorneys and 5 Healthy Towns to purchase the Dexter Wellness Center and equipment.

He said the LOI outlines details on the project and an agreement for purchase of the facility and its equipment as soon as the necessary due diligence process is complete (i.e., soil testing, etc). The purchase will be paid for from a combination of the $8.5 million senior and community center grant and any future grant funds (i.e., federal community project funding requests, etc).

“This letter of intent will allow the purchase process to move forward,” Timmis said. “An agreement for the operations of the Dexter Wellness Center will be forthcoming in a separate proposal in the coming weeks. This item is presented for discussion only this evening.”

One thing he noted to the board and community is that with the Wellness Center a new opportunity would become open for students. He said for many years, high school has offered a physical education class titled “Dexter Wellness Center” which took place in the high school gym, but if this plans becomes a reality then students can take bus transportation to/from the center to take the class at the center.

Now as for the senior center plan, Timmis said DCS has again been working with district attorneys, but in this case with the Dexter Senior Center and A.R. Brouwer/BST to form a plan to purchase the land and build a newly constructed 9,000 square feet Senior Center building to be located on the vacant lot on Baker Road at the entrance to the Dexter Wellness Center.

In its information on the proposal, DCS’s plan says the purchase will be paid for from a combination of the $8.5 million senior and community center grant, grant funds provided to the Dexter Senior Center from Washtenaw County, and any future grant funds (i.e., federal community project funding requests, etc). This letter of intent will allow the construction to be started and completed in a timely fashion to provide a new and permanent home to the Dexter Senior Center.

A design for the senior center has been determined by the Dexter Senior Center Board in collaboration with A.R. Brouwer/BST.

The school board will further review the plan at the next meeting with decisions on the LOIs to come.