New homeowner Ron Morris admits he is "a complete novice when it comes to home improvement." So he signed up for the Fix-It Yourself class at the Glenwood Community Center.
"I want to learn the right way to do things instead of paying someone to do simple tasks, and I have been able to apply things [I learned] immediately," Morris said.
The Fix-It-Yourself class is just one example of how the community is benefiting from the Glenwood facility, which opened last month to rave reviews.
"It has been great. The community loves the building, and they are so happy to have it," said facility director Terri Hilton, who added that 2,535 people used the center in November.
The building, on Route 97 a mile south of Interstate 70, has a gymnasium with two full-size basketball courts, three-lane walking track, computer room, dance studio and classrooms/meeting rooms.
The center is run by the county's Recreation and Parks department and offers physical activities and educational programs for seniors, teens and preschoolers.
"We have classes that run from six to eight weeks for a variety of ages and recreational interests," Hilton said. "The building is available for rental, too."
Because child care and senior services are offered in the same building, the center's officials plan to have interacting programs.
"On Sunday, we have a grandparent-grandchild gingerbread house-making program, and we anticipate more intergenerational programs in the future," Hilton said.
The gymnasium is open to the public Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The fitness room, which includes cardiovascular equipment and free weights, is open to the public seven days a week for a fee. Participants also must fill out a medical form and attend an orientation session before using the equipment. It costs $5 daily, but there are less costly plans, such as 25 visits for $73.
Hilton said the indoor track is very popular, especially with seniors in the morning hours. "People love the walking track because it is getting cold outside," said Hilton, who added that 15 laps equal a mile.
"The track can be a nice alternative to [walking in] the mall because you don't have to be tempted to spend money," Jennifer Gibson of Dayton said.
The center is in a popular spot - next to the Glenwood Library and Western Regional Park - and has been a hit with the community. "It was very welcomed and needed by the community," Hilton said.
Hilton said the center does not feel crowded because "it is well laid out. There is a good flow. You do not notice that there are that many people in the building."
The Department of Citizen Services Office on Aging and the Senior Center Plus run senior programs at the Glenwood center. These agencies provide services that include activities for lifelong wellness, rewarding leisure time and adult education.
The center was built on the site where senior programs were offered from a family house, and Hilton said some people who drive by might think the building is for seniors only. "We are a community center for all ages," she said.
Community members in western Howard County are pleased to have the center for many reasons. One of them is location.
"It is fantastic, said Teresa Lemon, who teaches a cake-decorating class. "There are so many people coming out here from the western end of the county rather than going into Columbia."
"We [the elderly] won't have to drive in the congested Columbia," Gibson said.
Hilton said the best part has been "watching the people use the building and seeing the smiles on their faces. Seeing people be active."
The Glenwood Community Center is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 410-313-4840 for community center information and 410 313 5440 for information on the senior center.