PROVO -- Provo's senior citizen community marked the end of an era on Thursday as the Eldred Senior Center observed its last day of operation. In the coming weeks the building will be torn down and the senior center will reopen in the new recreation center later this spring.

For the most part, the Eldred Center regulars went about their day with little fanfare. Jean Lane quietly instructed a tai chi class as she has been doing for almost 15 years. Groups of friends sat quietly, laughing and reminiscing about old times.

While there was some excitement to move into the new building, most patrons expressed their sadness to lose the building they have come to love and in which they have so many cherished memories.

"I feel very sad in a way," 92-year-old Pearl Meacham said. "I love this place, but I think it probably needed to come down."

Before lunch, staff manager Richard Wenger thanked all of the members and volunteers for their years at the senior center. He also invited everyone to attend his wedding in February.

"I met my fiancé here," Wenger said. "I'm so involved with these people's lives and they've supported me so much. I've become close friends with everybody. It's a special place."

Leanore Ream Robinson said she was crying when she heard they were tearing down the old building.

"My daughter said when she heard about the new one, 'now you can build one just like you want,'" Robinson said. "And I said, 'this IS just what I want!' There's so many good things about it. It's just beautiful."

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-- Spenser Heaps is a staff photographer covering everything from community events to breaking news to portraits.
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