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The historic Buffalo Club is preparing to make $8.5 million worth of improvements, mainly to its fitness and wellness facilities.

The upgrades, including a planned expansion of about 16,000 square feet, will allow the club at 388 Delaware Ave. to take care of its members’ needs and create the potential for growth, said Daniel Franklin, the general manager.

“It’s a strategic plan,” Franklin said. “We’re looking out toward the future.”

The club’s board approved the plans earlier this month, he said. Work is scheduled to get under way in March, with plans to complete the projects by the end of 2013. Franklin declined to say how many members the club has.

The club will create a fitness room for members’ classes and add a double squash court. The club will also replace its weight and resistance training equipment, and enlarge the steam room and sauna, as well as its men’s locker room.

A new women’s locker room will be built, along with a separate locker room for children, which the club does not currently have. Part of the existing women’s locker room will then be converted into meeting space.

The pool, which was designed by E.B. Green and built in 1898, will be renovated. Skylights are expected to be returned to the facility, Franklin said. Also, a new wellness center will be added, with four massage rooms and more spa services.

The club will also add four hotel rooms; the club previously had hotel rooms, but not since about the 1950s, Franklin said. The hotel rooms will accommodate members’ guests and allow the Buffalo Club to participate in reciprocal arrangements with clubs in other cities.

The general contractor for the work will be Lehigh Construction, and Hamilton Houston Lownie will be the architect.

The club was founded in 1867. Membership is by invitation only, and candidates must be sponsored by two current members.

email: mglynn@buffnews.com