The city of Ankeny and Polk County are working together to build a new senior community center at 250 N.W. Ash Drive in Ankeny. The two-story building will include a dining room, warming kitchen, exam/health room, multipurpose gymnasium, and billiard, game and craft rooms. Architectural rendering by Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering

Construction of a $7.1 million Ankeny Community Senior Center, a joint project between the city and Polk County, is expected to begin this summer and be completed by late 2021, Ankeny officials said.

The two-story, 30,300-square-foot center will be located at 250 N.W. Ash Drive and will include a dining room, warming kitchen, exam/health room, multipurpose gymnasium for pickleball, volleyball and basketball, running track, and exercise, billiard, game and craft rooms.  

“What’s great about this project is that it’s truly a senior citizen community center,” Ankeny City Manager David Jones said. “It will be an incredible, one-of a kind facility in Polk County.”

City and county officials began discussing building a senior citizen center in Ankeny nearly two years ago. Seniors have been meeting in the Neveln Center, operated by the Ankeny school district. However, space at Neveln is limited. In addition, Ankeny school officials last fall announced that leases for many groups who meet at Neveln wouldn’t be renewed because the district needs the spaces.

Joh Ihle, deputy director of community family and youth services for Polk County, said programing for senior citizens will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the new center. Lunch will be provided daily, and health services will be available.

“There’s going to be an opportunity for more people to socialize and be involved in more activities,” Ihle said. The Ankeny facility will be the county’s eighth full-time senior citizen site. Before the pandemic, between 60 and 100 senior citizens attended programs or meals at the Neveln Center. Ihle said that number will likely increase at the new facility.

Polk County is contributing $3.5 million toward the project in the form of a long-term lease agreement, Jones said. Ankeny is paying for the remainder through its capital improvements budget. The city will own and maintain the building.

“This is something that neither the city or the county could do on their own,” Jones said. “This is a good example of what you can do if you work together.”

Other Ankeny groups and residents will be able to lease the center when it's not in use by Polk County, city officials said.

Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering was hired in late 2019 to complete designs of the facility. A construction contract is expected to be awarded July 6.

To see more architectural renderings, click here.