As published in Toledo Business Journal - February 1, 2020

Rendering of 50 North’s renovated and expanded facility in Findlay

Rendering of 50 North’s renovated and expanded facility in Findlay

50 North investing $6M
in expansion

Organization offers help to adults transitioning between work and retirement

50 North, a private 501(c)(3) organization that offers a variety of programs and services to help adults 50 and older transition between work and retirement in Hancock County, is investing $6 million to renovate its current 22,500 square foot building and expand the building by 23,600 square feet.

According to Carolyn Copus, executive director of 50 North, there is a real and increasing need for the services provided by 50 North – today and into the future – as the aging population in Hancock County is growing.

“Today, 36% of the Hancock population’s age is 50 and older, and that is expected to go to 44% in the next decade. On top of that, after the Baby Boomers are finished turning 65 in 2029, the Millennials start turning 50 in 2032. The Millennials are actually a larger population than the Baby Boomers, but what is not going to happen to us – which is happening to us now – is we are not going to have that high surge,” explained Copus. “Since 2009, our membership has grown by 92%. We’re not going to see that drastic growth once the Millennials start coming, but we’re not going to see it lag off either – it will be a gradual growth.”

Copus went on to note that 50 North’s service utilization has also increased, going from 32,006 people in 2009 to 150,744 people, and the average daily attendance exceeds 333 people per day, seven days a week, compared to 101 people in 2009. The average daily attendance at the facility is 445 people.

“With this increase, we’ve found that we’re currently out of space. We have waiting lists and people that have limited mobility create tight space because we are trying to do more activities. We’re even taking every storage space that we have and we’re creating other offices, because we’re creating program space out of the current offices. It just is becoming really crammed. On top of all of that, our building was occupied in 1992, so now we are looking at a 27-year-old building and everything needs to be updated from the HVAC systems, the roof, and parking lot. This is just an optimal time with the growth factor of the aging population,” said Copus.

In total, the renovation of the building will include renovations to the lobby area; east side socialization area, coffee bar, library, meeting / game room, and billiards room; west side meeting rooms; roof, ceiling, flooring, walls, etc.; electrical, plumbing, HVAC system, etc.; and site improvement including repaving.

The expansion, totaling 23,600 square feet, will include a fitness and wellness studio for classes; a fitness and wellness equipment area; locker rooms; an indoor track and multipurpose space; fitness and wellness personal training and WELLBEATS rooms; expanded café and storage area; art and activity room; offices; electrical plumbing, HVAC, etc.; and site improvement including a parking lot expansion.

50 North will be expanding its facility by 23,600 square feet

50 North will be expanding its facility by 23,600 square feet

“For this project, we’re really growing for the next 10-15 or 20 years. In 2014, we underwent a facility utilization plan asking the community what programs they wanted and what facilities they needed, and they gave us 13 recommendations. Our board adopted 11 of the 13. The top five were to change our name, to expand our programs and services, looking at renovating our facility, expanding the space, and looking at our green space. It really was the community who told us – looking at the aging population – that we need to start preparing now for an expansion,” said Copus. “We had a bigger plan, but our community said we’ll support this plan and doubling the size. We really feel confident and listened to the community that this is the right size for our community and our building and will be successful for the aging population.”

Currently, 50 North has 24 full-time positions, 36 part-time positions, and instructors for classes. Although the building is going to be expanded, 50 North expects to have its positions filled prior to completion.

“What we’re doing right now is we’re preparing for what our needs are and we’re filling those positions this year and we’re not going to hire after we expand. We have been expanding programs to fit the facility that we’re going to be moving into. We have prepared our format through 2022, so we’re going to see some stability in these next few years. What we’re going to be really adjusting to is the new building and the programing. Right now we are just enhancing what we are currently doing,” said Copus.

50 North, according to Copus, provides programs and services to people in order to promote health, functional abilities, and socialization through activities, chores, nutrition, outreach, and wellness.

“In Hancock County, we are the only organization that provides senior services that provides activities, chores, nutrition, outreach, and wellness. There are other organizations that provide fitness, but there are not a lot of organizations that have adapted fitness equipment like we do for people that have chronic conditions, balance issues, who have Parkinson’s, strokes, etc. We’re really the only organization in Hancock County that provides these other services,” said Copus.

Its activities include lifelong learning through classes, socialization opportunities, and travel; its chores include home repair, maintenance, housekeeping, and seasonal activities, among others; nutrition includes mobile meals and grocery delivery, among others; its outreach includes referring, assisting, and advocating on behalf of people and their families; and wellness includes health and fitness classes, among a variety of programs.

RCM Architects, Inc., based in Findlay, is the architect for the project and Alvada Construction, Inc., based in Alvada, is the general contractor. The team will began sitework in December and is expected to be complete in March. Construction will begin in April and is expected to be complete in the third quarter of 2021.

“We’ve had a lot of support for this project to date and we’ve been very fortunate. This is something that the community sees as a gem and something that contributes to the quality of life in our community,” concluded Copus.


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