Senior Center celebrates 50th anniversary

Over 100 people showed up to celebrate the Pleasant Senior Center’s 50th anniversary on March 29.

Over 100 people showed up to celebrate the Pleasant Senior Center’s 50th anniversary on March 29.

What started as a few older folks, hosted by Bertha Stone and Tillie Roof, gathering at Nixon Hall to enjoy each other's company and a few refreshments in 1974, has blossomed into 50 years of diverse services and social interaction for local senior citizens.

On March 29 the Pleasant Senior Center celebrated their 50th anniversary, the result of a happy accident, according to Pleasant Senior Center Director Brandie Pettis. 

Pettis was searching through the Center’s archive, trying to find out just how old the battered flooring in the building is when she glanced at the articles of incorporation, stating that the Center was adopted on March 29, 1974. Looking at her calendar, she realized that was just a week away and the anniversary definitely called for a party. 

Senior Center members danced to celebrate the Center’s 50th anniversary on March 29.

The Pleasant Senior Center Board of Trustees sponsored all the meals for the party, a special cake was baked, the dining hall was decorated, and live music was provided by Paul Criddle while people danced. About 130 people showed up for the celebration, even more than those that came for Easter dinner. 

“I sometimes reminisce on what Bertha and Tillie would think if they could see what their simple idea has evolved into,” said Pettis in an email. 

Over the past 50 years, services have been greatly expanded to benefit the community, especially food and nutrition services for homebound seniors and disabled persons, but it turns out, much of the flooring in the building is original or unfinished. 

Despite the elation that the anniversary celebration brought, the Senior Center is still in need of new flooring for the entire facility. 

Pettis explained that flooring tiles are coming unglued and need frequent repair and the floor in the kitchen is just coated cement, which is extremely hard to stand on for kitchen staff that are working an eight hour-long shift each day. 

“The whole point of me even finding the 50th anniversary was for the floors. We did get some quotes and they're pretty expensive, but as far as sustainability goes, I want it to last another 50 years and being a nonprofit, obviously, we have to find outside resources for items like this, whether it be through donations or grants or in-kind donations,” explained Pettis. 

The Pleasant Senior Center is the only non-profit 501c3 Senior Center in Northern Nevada, funded solely on grants and donations, not governed by the City or the County, but by an eight-person board of trustees.

“We're actually at pre-pandemic numbers, so that's been really nice seeing the numbers increase of those that are here, actually coming to the Senior Center, and then with the expansion of our homebound delivery service, we're obviously growing immensely,” said Pettis. 

The original building was just 3,000 square feet, but after a final expansion in 2018, the size of the building has more than doubled to about 8,000 square feet to accommodate their extensive nutrition program, public transportation program, transportation to Reno (twice a week), YOGA classes, exercise classes, a full gym with resistance training equipment, row machines and treadmills, craft classes, social activities like weekly BINGO, movies, Friends Day Out trips, and a Senior Resource Office to help with resources and referrals to community partners. 

“Because of our kitchen expansion [in 2012], we started to grow rapidly, providing over 100 seniors a day with our congregate meal service. This was a capacity that was overwhelming for our building. By 2014 we were expanding our dining area, building an area for a future gym, and building a covered area for our transit buses. With that expansion, we were in need of a meeting area for our board members, so by 2018 the last phase of growth to our center began. With over 8,000+ square feet of space our center has finally reached its full potential,” explained Pettis in an email. 

The Senior Center is kindly asking for any donations that can go towards new flooring for their facility so they can continue on their mission to reach and connect local seniors and work towards celebrating another 50 years of service to the community. 

Pettis said “This Senior Center has withstood the test of time for 50 years. It represents much more than a physical space— it embodies the value of community, support, and compassion. Its significance lies not only in the services we provide but also in the relationships it fosters and the legacy it leaves behind for future generations.”