ST. CLAIRSVILLE  — On Thursday, Sept. 24, a ground breaking ceremony was held for the new Senior Services of Belmont Community Building.
“This is a great day  for seniors in Belmont County. This is a great day for everyone in Belmont County, “ said  Board of Commissioners President Mark Thomas. “This is a longtime coming.”
Thomas said the brand new building will provide administrative offices for Belmont County Senior Services employees, as well as a community building to serve all county seniors. Thomas said the staff deserves an updated building with a more efficient kitchen, noting that 1,000 meals per day are made in a kitchen built to serve 300 meals per day.
He thanked the staff, from the administration to the kitchen staff. “I want to thank you for what you do everyday,” Thomas said.  
“When completed, this building will serve seniors in Belmont County for many years,” Thomas said.
He thanked the tax payers who “support every single thing having to do with seniors in Belmont County”.
Thomas also thanked Senior Services Director Gary Armitage , the project’s general contractor Vendrick Construction and Belmont County Auditor Andy Sutak whom he said was instrumental in helping with the financing of the  6.4 million dollar project.
Thomas said the project architects, Green Core Designs, Inc. and Breisch & Crowley and Integrated Engineering Consultants Vaughn, Coast & Vaughn, Inc. did a “tremendous job getting the project to the pre-construction phase”.
The landscaping will be done by Hays Landscape Architecture Studio.
Thomas said commissioners chose to make the building a Project Best Project, to “utilize local workers who live here, raise children here and spend money here.”
“The seniors are the most important part of the day,” said Board of Commissioners Vice President Ginny Favede. “We have an increased aging population in Belmont County and this is a commitment we (the commissioners) made to you.”
She said the project was on a list that she and Commissioner Matt Coffland made when they began as commissioners. She noted that planning for the project began 20 years ago.
Favede said the project was for the seniors, the employees who “worked in deplorable conditions and for  the taxpayers. “We are utilizing taxpayer money and using it for what you care about,” she said.
Favede said bids were received for the Flushing Senior Center the previous day. All 11 county senior centers will remain open.
“This new building will have new programs and hopefully grow our base of those we take care of,” she said.
Commissioner Coffland said the new building had been a dream of his since he had seen the kitchen in the current building eight years ago. He said the commissioners were able to set aside 2.5 million for the project with Sutak’s help.
Sutak said the money was set aside from Senior Services levies. He said there was a pay-down schedule for the debt.
“This project has been a major joint adventure. You should be blessed to have the commissioners you have,” Sutak said.
Coffland said the project will take a little over a year to complete.
“We designed a building that will serve the needs of the seniors and staff well,” Coffland said. “We put a lot of thought and planning into it. We are using local workers and we are proud of that,” he said.
Scott Mazzulli, treasurer of PROJECT BEST, INC..  said BEST stands for Best Efficiency Striving Together.  He said PROJECT BEST keeps workers in the area and guarantees a project that is done well, on time and under budget.