When musicals make a tour stop at C.C. Young Retirement Community, people pack into the tiny chapel where the performances are held. The small venue doesn’t provide enough space for the residents, let alone other seniors who might want to watch. But that will change when the Learning and Cultural Arts Center (LCAC) opens next month.

“Everyone’s excited. Right now, it’s just crowded,” says Sarah Diamond, a C.C. Young resident who loves watching all the musical performances. “I think with a new building, there will be more room.”

Diamond is right. At the new facility, an intimate pocket theater will provide a much more spacious venue for popular performances. Besides the theater, the 20,000-square-foot building will house classrooms, fully equipped fitness centers, a broadcast studio, meditation chapel and an art gallery, among other things.

Use of the new facility will not be limited to people living on C.C. Young’s campus. Already seniors throughout our neighborhood can enjoy programs such as watercolor painting and aerobics at little to no cost, and with the center’s completion, more activities are on the way. For modest fees, seniors will be able to ease the pain of arthritis by taking a tai chi class, grab lunch at the new Healthy Living Café, or make memories permanent at a memoir-writing class.

“It’s really a gift to the community,” Phala Finley, C.C. Young’s director of development, says of the center.

As part of its mission to facilitate lifelong learning, C.C. Young collaborates with Eastfield College and others to provide activities for seniors in our neighborhood — something that has been difficult to do in the current activities center.

“It’s been well loved and well used, but we’ll be happy to see it go,” says LCAC director Sarah Jarvis, referring to the original building.

“We’re hoping the new facility will allow 70 to 80 percent more community participation in the programs we offer,” says CEO Kenneth Durand.

The construction of the LCAC is part of a major development plan that has been five years in the making, he says. The plan includes extensive renovation of the Lawther Point Health Center, the creation of the LCAC, and construction of a new residential facility called The Overlook, which will provide views of White Rock Lake. Despite some back-and-forth with neighbors on the building’s proposed height, C.C. Young was able to compromise (the building will be six stories instead of the proposed eight) and even make a few friends out the deal, Durand says.

“We wanted to make sure that we remained neighbors through all of this, and we did,” he says.

Learning and Cultural Arts Center Grand Opening
/ Sunday, Sept. 9, 2 p.m.
where/ C.C. Young Retirement Community, 4847 West Lawther
for information: Visit ccyoung.org or call Sarah Jarvis, 214.841.2834