More than 40 years ago, Evelyn Rudis, Rene and Elaine Morissette, and Jeanette and Robert Courtemanche broke ground on the site of the old West School, located at 77 Lowell St. This would become the new home of the Methuen Senior Activity Center.

Rudis, the center’s first director, along with the Morissettes and the Courtemanches took on the fund-raising and were instrumental in obtaining the many tradesmen who donated their time to help build the center – which opened in 1984.

Now, hundreds of seniors visit the 17,000-square-foot facility each weekday. The center offers a variety of exercise programs at many levels, informational sessions, enrichment classes and volunteer opportunities for the purpose of keeping healthy, informed and connected to community. A thrift shop is also on premises, as well as a weight room and pool table.

Over 150 guests attended last month’s four-hour 40th anniversary party which included an open house and tours, speeches and recognitions. Guests enjoyed dinner by Quality Catering, then took to the dance floor for a fun-filled night.

Gary Morissette, the son of Rene and Elaine, briefly spoke saying, “Our parents would have been very proud to see this 40th anniversary. His organization and construction skills were exceptional and, because of those skills and the people he met, he created a network of individuals who donated their time to get this center built.”

Valerie Courtemanche, granddaughter of Jeanette and Robert, donated back to the center an oil painting that belonged to her grandparents, saying, “They would want this back here.”

In addition to a sea of seniors, the event was attended by current and former staffers and supporters as well as Mayor Neil Perry, Sen. Pavel Payano, state Reps. Estella Reyes and Ryan Hamilton, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Elder Affairs Jodi Breidel and others.

For more about the center or for a tour, call (978) 983-8825.