Thursday, April 3, 2014
With less than a month to go before its 5:30 p.m. May 1 grand reopening, the Murrells Inlet Community Center is a hub of activity inside and out.
Painters are hard at work inside, getting the trim done before carpet is installed in the designated areas, the automatic seating system for the large multipurpose room that will hold community theater productions and other activities that can make use of the stage, that can be expanded.
“This is on budget and on time,” said Beth Goodale, parks and recreation director for Georgetown County, the owner of the center.
“This is one of the smoothest projects we’ve ever had.”
In addition to the main area, there are three smaller rooms – large, medium and small – that can house classes and other activities, and the sheriff’s office substation will also be housed in the facility.
Outside work still on tap includes landscaping and parking, but even that has been a breeze, Goodale said.
“There has been no standing water, and even though we had 25 inches of water this season, we didn’t lose a day of construction work,” Goodale added.
While the work has taken about 16 months to complete, plans have been on the table for much longer, Goodale explained. The former facility, built in the 1940s as a school, was not conducive to a community center. Plans for the site were discussed as early as 2002 during the county’s Vision session, and in 2008 construction was included in the recreation department’s master plan.
The biggest discussions revolved around whether to build on the site of the former community center or to find another site for the new building.
Once it was determined that the existing site, at 4450 Murrells Inlet Road, every effort was made to save the live oaks on the site, which required that the building be pushed back on the site.
Now the trees are a focal point, and large windows let those using the three small offices inside look out.
The new building is an example of how government and the community can work together, said Jackie Broach, the county’s public information officer.