The Price Center, located downtown on West San Antonio Street offers San Marcos a communal place to gather, celebrate or simply have lunch.
The story of The Price Center and its transformation into what it is today is as diverse as the events it hosts.
The original structure was built in 1893 as the First Christian Church and was later expanded in 1910. After the congregation outgrew the space, the church moved out. In 1994 H.Y. Price, Jr., owner of the San Marcos Telephone Company, purchased then donated the structure to the city for exclusive use in youth and/or senior citizen activity programs.
Ron Jager, a history professor for 40 years at Texas State, and wife Marie Jager were involved in the renovation and repurposing of The Price Center from the very beginning. The Jagers envisioned the center not only as a senior center but as a center to celebrate the cultural arts. In 1996, the building received its formal charter and the transformation began.
“Over a 15 year period they raised almost a million dollars to renovate and restore and repurpose The Price Center into what it is today,” said Clay DeStefano, executive director of The Price Center.
Over time the center has expanded what it can offer the city of San Marcos. It has hosted music lessons, tea parties, birthdays, weekly social gatherings, film screenings and is the current headquarters for the San Marcos Mermaid Society. The center even contains a full service tea room open for lunch every day the center is open.
“It’s not like your usual office space. I think it has more of a cultural feeling to it,” said Margie Villalpando, administrative assistant to The Price Center. “Mainly it’s making people comfortable for whatever party or meaning their need is.”
As a nonprofit organization and with its strong connection to the city, there is a large amount of opportunity for The Price Center and the events/organizations it hosts to grow side-by-side.
“Bring us the opportunity and we’ll make it happen,” DeStefano said.
Even though it originated as a senior center, The Price Center and its staff are bridging the gaps of all ages.
“We’ve always tried to create engagement that is intergenerational, multi-generational,” said DeStefano. “My approach has been to broaden that.”
Awareness of The Price Center is growing. Since last year in 2015, visitors and participants of The Price Center have increased from 1,500 to now over 4,000.
As is stated on the website, The Price Center seeks to be “a part of the community rather than be apart from it.”
From its beginning, transformations and continued communal driven growth, The Price Center is a part of San Marcos and, with many upcoming events and opportunities, it will continue to be involved in the community.