Campus Outreach - Former motel to be used for church volunteers

  • Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • Updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 12:33 pm

Anita Crone/For Inlet outlook Theresa Currie is one of the owners of what will house Bethlehem Baptist Church’s Campus Outreach in Garden City Beach..

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What once was one of Garden City's thriving mom-and-pop motels that fell on hard times, is coming back to life, not as a motel, but as lodging for Campus Outreach volunteers.

These volunteers come each summer to the beach from Minnesota to spread the word of Jesus.

Students, volunteers, the building's new owners and contractors are hard at work at the former Ocean View Motel, at 131 Waccamaw Drive (behind Beach Real Estate).

They are tossing decrepit mattresses, sinks and furniture, scrubbing down walls, painting inside and out, installing new windows and making the building habitable for the 100 to 150 students who will be arriving in the next month to start their volunteer effort.

Theresa Currie, her husband, Ken Currie, and Paul and Samm Poteat closed on the property in early February and have been hard at work almost from the first day.

Ken Currie and Paul Poteat are elders in Bethlehem Baptist Church, a growing entity in Minneapolis.

“We're replacing air conditioners, locks, furniture, every sink and window, almost everything but the walls,” said Theresa Currie, who was juggling work at the former motel with activities for her two youngsters and still taking time to talk about the renovation project.

“We've been coming down for years with the college students,” she said.

The group, which numbers 100 to 150 students each summer includes college students from all over Minnesota.

“Some of the students have never seen the beach, so not only do they get to live here, but they do so with the campus ministry,” Currie said.

The students get jobs with local businesses and in their off hours, perform their ministry work for the six to eight weeks they spend in the area.

“This way, the students will have a place to stay together,” Currie said.

Like many efforts, the purchase did not come easily.

“We had stayed here in the past, but recently, we couldn't. It wasn't right. Then we found out the motel was for sale.”

It took nearly three months to complete the deal. And then the real heavy lifting started. Some of the toilets hadn't been flushed when the building closed and the rooms were sitting vacant.

Some of the air conditioners had disappeared, leaving just the coverings but no inner workings. The pool had not been drained, and its brown waters sit as a reminder of what can happen with no maintenance.

No matter.

“We've got a pool person coming to look at it,” said Currie, smiling as she and a small army of students scraped walls, loaded mattresses and other vestiges of the building's former life onto trailers for a trip to the landfill.

The mostly volunteer help smiled through it all. They are on a mission, they have a deadline and no doubt their efforts will yield results. The cold? No problem, it's warmer than it was in Minnesota. A destroyed room? Don't worry, they make it right.

“Come back in a month,” Theresa Currie said Tuesday morning. “You won't recognize the place.”

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