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Senior center going up fast



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Orion Township contracted laborers work on the new senior center's roof and siding, which should be finished within the week. Photo by Gabriel Ouzounian (click for larger version)
January 19, 2011 - As siding and roofing operations begin to cover the frame, the new senior center is stepping out of fiction and into reality.

Orion Township Building Official Tom Berger said that despite a few "hiccups," the building's completion is on schedule, predicting that the building will be finished in July.

"Inclement weather has been a problem, with heavy snow hitting us sooner than we expected in December, but we're back up to speed and moving at a very rapid pace to get the project completed," said Berger. "All the underground work for electric, sewer and water is complete, and we're planning on having the roof construction done by the end of the week.

"We've been really fortunate to have most of the components fall right into place."

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Berger added that thanks to the economy, finding people willing to work had been no problem, and that most of the contractual work was being brought in locally when possible.

"When we have a project like this we try to get at least five or six bids from businesses from outside and inside the community, and when all the pricing is worked out, we definitely give favor to local people," said Berger. "It's nice to employee local people, and with the economy it's nice to give back to the community while building something in for community."

The new senior center, located on Joslyn Road just south of Clarkston, was ///approved by the Orion Township Board of Trustees in September of 2010, despite concerns from trustee John Steimel over the cost of the project. When initially introduced, the building's cost was $1.3 million, but over the course of the preliminary planning, the price jumped to $3.7 million. When the building was approved for construction, the Board of Trustees wanted to lock this price.

Berger confirmed that the budget would not be breached.

He also mentioned that Orion Township Supervisor Matthew Gibb had taken a great interest in staying involved in the project.

"Mr. Gibb was very adamant on making sure the cost stayed where it was and that it was finished in a reasonable amount of time," said Berger.

Gibb was unreachable for comment at the time of this article's publication.

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