Intergenerational theatre experiences open creative opportunities for elders, middlers and kids to work and create together, learning from each other — a mission of the Price Center.
1910 SANCTUARY REMODELED
The 1910 former church sanctuary addition has been completely gutted and reconfigured, with salvaged windows and embossed metal ceiling, as an auditorium/theatre/meeting room. There, the Association’s own programs are offered as well as the room being used as a venue for community organizations, such as service clubs, various university organizations, lectures, DVD movies and Association luncheons. The revenue derived from such uses has made it possible for the Association to carry forward its designated mission which continually necessitates increasing renovation.
On November 11, 2004, at the annual meeting of the Texas Downtown Association at the Hilton Hotel in College Station, Texas, the H.Y. Price, Jr., Seniors Center, San Marcos, Texas, received recognition as the most outstanding “adaptive reuse” property in the state of Texas. This was a high point in the five year rehabilitation program of the Price Seniors Center being carried out by the Greater San Marcos Area Seniors Association, Inc. The Association operates the Price Seniors Center (the former First Christian Church of San Marcos) under the terms of a thirty-year lease (renewable) with the City of San Marcos, record owner of the property. To date, over $400,000 in rehab expenses have been achieved by the Association.
The building complex was donated to the city of San Marcos by philanthropist H.Y. Price, Jr., by deed dated May 23, 1994, for use as “youth and/or senior citizen activity programs.” The City Council began periodic deliberations with the newly incorporated Greater San Marcos Are Seniors Association, Inc., with a final lease being signed on December 31, 1998, with the Association assuming all renovation responsibilities.
TEA ROOM OPENS
This goal took definitive shape in September 2001 when the Association opened the Price Center Tea Room offering gourmet lunches three days a week, prepared by a retired chef, Joyce Kidd, with extensive restaurant experience.
This chef also became a caterer for numerous groups, clubs, businesses and civic organizations that were willing to make a reasonable donation for the use of the building as the renovations proceeded.
1893 CHAPEL RENOVATED
The original 1893 small church building, now merely a wing of the complex, was rehabilitated as a memorial chapel in which numerous varied groups met. This format successfully produced revenue for the Association with which to expand its programming and thereby qualify for further renovation funding from the city’s CDBG funds, from the county, United Way, private foundations, businesses and individual donations, large and small.
In general, the Association’s mission idea was to emphasize intergenerational activities rather than to create an enclave for traditionally narrowly defined senior citizen programs. The larger community was to benefit from the seniors’ plan.
We envision an expansive and expressive outreach with the goal of being a vital part of our broader community, contributing to uplifting inter-generational opportunities for all as we facilitate the visions, hopes, needs and creative proposals offered to the Price Center by any and all for the benefit of any and all.
A motto was adopted which expressed this view: “A part of the community rather than apart from it.” The idea was that the seniors would devise and sponsor activities and building uses from which the entire citizenry, across age or demographic categories, would benefit.
ONWARD & UPWARD
Currently, rehabilitation is completed on the second floor of the building, including installation of an elevator, its exterior and grounds. Our expectation is that our “track record” will justify significantly larger grants so as to create an endowed fund to provide operational funding for employed specialists to ensure the continued preservation of this beautiful structure and its community-friendly services.
The Greater San Marcos Area Seniors Association, Inc., (501-c-3) corporate manager of the H. Y. Price, Jr. Seniors Center (generally known as “The Price Center” ), serves as a facilitating agency to provide stimulating cultural, social and intellectual opportunities for proposed inter-generational encounters, where the life experiences of our senior generation may be shared with the aspirations of those on their own life-journey.
Since the early 2000s, the Greater San Marcos Area Seniors Association, has realized its mission by operating the non-profit, low cost/no cost, Center as a gathering place for celebrations, performances, presentations, artistic displays, weddings and various other private, professional, personal and community events.
In addition to serving as a venue for others to host events and activities, the Center offers a variety of programs and activities focused on healthy, active living.
A variety of ongoing healthy and engaging classes and gatherings bring young, old and in-betweeners together throughout the Center each week.
Enriching and engaging mentally is fun and easy via weekly Bridge and Mahjong games the Little Free Library and more.
Opportunities to express oneself creatively abound through monthly porcelain painting, quilting and one-off art workshops. Rotating art shows displayed daily in free, public galleries provide cultural enrichment and entertainment.
One-off musical performances, seasonal theatrical productions and movie showings offer more chances to enjoy the arts while meeting friends and neighbors.
Two heritage pecan trees anchor the Center’s large front garden, which features a nearly ever-blooming display of native and hybrid specimens and draws thousands of visitors each year in the form of regular sightseers, passing and nesting birds, butterflies and bumblebees as well as the students of Texas State University’s horticulture class for one of their annual exams.
Some of the Center’s newest offerings have become the most engaging, including a new Little Free Library on the front porch, that, due to its success, has already expanded to include a “branch location” in the Parlor. In addition, the new 4th Flea monthly community flea market provides a free eclectic shopping experience each month and a low-cost venue for individuals and small scale vendors.
In addition to its own programming and activities, each Price Center venue is available for rental by the hour, day, etc. From the historic 1893 and 1910 former sanctuaries to the Tea Room, Multi-Purpose Room, Small Parlor and Garden, the size, character and variety of the venues offer you endless ways to realize your vision for your event.
Whether you’re new to town, just passing through, or a long-term resident, the Price Center is your downtown home for healthy, active living. For more information, stop by 222 W. San Antonio St., call 512-392-2900,or follow us on Facebook.