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Silver Key sells Bott building; move from Westside to be complete by Aug. 1

       Silver Key Senior Services finally has a date certain for its relocation from the Westside: Aug. 1.
       By that date, according to its chief development officer, Lorri Orwig, all of the charitable nonprofit's equipment and personnel will be moved to the new facility at 1605-1655 S. Murray Blvd. “We're trying to do it in stages, so it's not all at one time,” she said,
A photo taken last October shows the entrance to the new Silver Key facility in the 1600 block of South Murray Boulevard.
Westside Pioneer file photo
adding the pledge that “even in the midst of chaos we'll find a way to continue our services.”
       Funded through donations and some government subsidies, the agency has been a Westside fixture at 2250 Bott Ave. since 1978, providing transportation, food and other services to thousands of seniors - including a focus on helping them stay in their own homes (instead of nursing homes) - throughout the Colorado Springs metro area.
       Orwig said she knows that Silver Key will be missed by people in this part of town. “We've heard it from clients for over a year,” she said, “They're sad we're leaving the Westside. So are we, but this was necessary because of the increasing senior population and to provide them with a better experience when they come to our new location.”
       The Murray site was purchased in 2015 for about $2 million. The single-story campus totals 68,000 square feet of building space on 6 acres, compared with Bott's 22,000 on 2.75 acres (plus 10,000 square feet in a
A fundraising event for Silver Key has been an annual "run" to local grocery stores by the local Pikes Peak Harley Owners Group. This photo was shot in the Silver Key parking lot (the building is in the background) as the bikers arrived during their 25th annual run in June 2011.
Westside Pioneer file photo
warehouse behind the main building and including the old Silver Key bus parking lot on the west side of Robinson Street).
       A large new kitchen for Silver Key's Meals on Wheels and Golden Circle programs opened at Murray last fall, but the agency's full move had to wait until Bott sold, Orwig has explained.
       That sale happened earlier this month, making Silver Key a tenant for now. The new ownership consists of Gary Geiser, whose Colorado Green Chili production facility moved into 5,000 square feet (where the Silver Key kitchen used to be) at the Bott site a few months ago; and Craddock Properties, a long-time area development firm. Geiser's chili is retailed locally and is also featured at his two downtown King's Chef diners.
       Geiser was not initially available for comment, but Matt Craddock of Craddock Properties said that redevelopment plans are in the conceptual stage and will depend a lot on the wishes of prospective tenants. He did note that there is a demand on the Westside for office/warehouse space.
       Some major renovations will be needed to the roughly 40-year-old Bott office building, according to previous Silver Key information, with key issues in the heating,
The late Mikki Kraushaar, shown in 2004, was the director of Silver Key from 1971 to 2006.
Westside Pioneer file photo
plumbing and electrical systems - although Craddock said he thinks "the bare bones of it are in pretty good shape." In any case, the concern about potential, major upkeep costs in the future figured into Silver Key's relocation decision a few years ago.
       Other key reasons were identified needs for greater space and a more centralized city location. Driving Silver Key's push for added space are studies predicting a steep increase in the area's senior citizens in future years (thanks to aging Baby Boomers).
       The agency's first relocation choice, in 2014, was the former Bates Elementary, which District 11 had closed and whose property would have provided plenty of expansion room. But the renovation costs loomed too high, and Silver Key backed out.
       Built in the 1980s, the Murray campus is in better shape and even bigger than Bates; in fact, close to half of its building space is being leased out for now, Orwig has noted, with the expectation of reclaiming it as needed in the years ahead.
       The kitchen is over twice the size of the one at Bott. Also, the Murray site offers a dining area for seniors (new), meeting rooms, a pantry and a thrift store.
       Silver Key initially opened in 1971 in the downtown area, “with grant monies from the Older Americans' Act, which initially provided funding for one staff member,” the Silver Key website states. Today, the agency employs more than 30 people and manages “numerous volunteers,” the website adds.
       According to a 2006 letter to the Westside Pioneer from a Silver Key staffer, the agency was founded by Betsey Myers Burroughs, and it was known for its first two years as the “El Paso County Nursing Homes Volunteer Corps.” Credited with guiding Silver Key's growth from 1971 until 2006 was Mikki Kraushaar, who died in 2007.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 6/22/16, updated 6/29/16; Community: Charitable)

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