Hilton Head Island's cramped senior center is moving to newer, bigger digs.
Town Council has approved setting aside space in the former Lifespan Building at 58 Shelter Cove Lane for the Senior Hospitality Activities Recreation Education center.
The town recently purchased the building to be the new home of the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office Southern Enforcement Branch.
The building includes a separate 3,000-square-foot unit that is not needed by the Sheriff's Office, but would meet the needs of the SHARE Senior Center, after about $110,000 in renovations.
The center's current 2,500-square-foot leased space at 6 Office Way is too small to accommodate more than one function at a time and lacks appropriate health and fitness programs, according to the Hilton Head Island Recreation Association, which manages the center.
"Without a doubt, this allows the association to improve the programs we offer to our current participants at SHARE, along with creating the ability to expand the activities we provide the community," association president Suzan Weber wrote in a letter to the town.
Island Rec Center executive director Frank Soule said the extra 500 square feet provides just enough room to offer low-impact aerobics and fitness classes, without disrupting other activities, such as the Hilton Head Island Computer Club.
The volunteers offer workshops and tutorials on using various technology, including tablets, e-readers, smartphones and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
"The mid-island location also helps us attract people on both ends of the community, making the center more accessible," Soule said. "We also anticipate working closer with Hilton Head Hospital to provide health programs and host more community socials and other events we can't do with the current building."
Town manager Steve Riley said renovations likely will begin early next year. The town has money set aside but must wait for the current tenant's lease to expire in December.
The senior center would likely move in the spring after a new lease has been signed, Riley said.
The Sheriff's Office substation on Lagoon Road will close Tuesday to move to the new building. Until the new space opens July 23, those who need assistance with services such as fingerprinting, copies of incident reports and background checks can go to the office's headquarters at 2001 Duke St. in Beaufort.
The senior center serves more than 1,000 members, including Helen Norton, who is ready for the move.
"There's not enough parking, and it gets crowded fast. And it would be nice to have a workout room," Norton said Friday while playing cribbage with friends.
Grace Johnson, who along with Norton has attended activities at the senior center for a decade, said she too looks forward to expanded offerings.
"I don't have relatives here, and it's important -- with an island that has a large population of retirees -- to have a place to go to meet friends," Johnson said. "I was living an active lifestyle before I moved here and didn't want to sit on my butt."