Introducing the Benjamin Gaither Center
The Gaithersburg City Council has approved a new name and logo for the Gaithersburg Upcounty Senior Center, which has served residents 55 of age and older in Montgomery County for 24 years or since 1991.
It will now be called the Benjamin Gaither Center, after the founder of Gaithersburg.
During a presentation at City Hall on Feb. 17, Senior Advisory Committee member Marcia Robins said now is the time for a name change and re-branding as a renovation project is currently underway at the Bureau Drive facility. Some of the coming attractions include a 1,000 square foot fitness center, an enlarged lecture room and computer lab.
According to Robins, research conducted by the members of the Senior Advisory Committee and staff indicated that the name “senior center” is often a barrier to attendance, membership and program participation.
Facility Director Grace Whipple said senior centers are often mistaken for adult daycare centers where the focus is on the disabled and the frail and she noted there is a trend nationwide to rename them. She described the Gaithersburg senior center as a place for the independent and active, older resident and although the average resident is now aged 75, she hopes the new name attracts even younger residents in the future.
According to Robins, the focus at the Gaithersburg facility is on fitness classes, technology and ongoing education classes.
Whipple said an average of 100 people a day visit the Gaithersburg Senior Center on Bureau Drive and that’s on a slow day.
She noted that the Senior Advisory Committee has been discussing renaming the facility for the past few years. In fact, she compiled a list of 50 such names, including one suggestion to rename it after former Mayor Sidney Katz. In the end, Whipple said the committee chose the Benjamin Gaither Center for its historical significance.
Gaithersburg City Councilmember Ryan Spiegel said the new name is “terrific.”
Whipple said renovations at the center are slated to be complete in mid-March and she expects a grand reopening will be held for the facility sometime after that.