The 63-year-old Bognor Community Centre has undergone extensive renovations that should see it through another 60 years or more. The main floor of the centre has been renovated from the exterior walls inward, with new studs, strapping, vapour barriers, insulation, wiring, drywall, ceiling, lighting, fans, and upgrades to the washrooms.
The centre’s board of management invited the public to view the renovations during an open house on Sunday, September 26.
The renovations have been major, according to the board of management’s chair, Kevin Clarke.
“They took everything back to the block wall,” he said. “Everything has been done up to code. The municipality over the last years has set aside money for different upgrades to all of community centres in the municipality. Because of the provincial regulations regarding accessibility, they had to put a new walkway out front and wheelchair accessibility washrooms inside and install a wheelchair stair lift – all the accessibility regulations to which the municipality has to comply.”
Like every other community centre in the municipality, the Bognor Community Centre has a long list of priorities, according to board member Gary Shute. “We have a five-year plan of things to get done in the hall, things that the municipality will look after providing they have the funds.”
The centre has always been available for weddings, family picnics, reunions, and Sunday jams. However, it has been closed during COVID-19. “We can open the doors again,” Clarke said. “We must wear masks, practise social distancing, and do contact tracing. We are limited to 50 percent capacity. We can have as many as 75 people upstairs and 50 downstairs. That’s a fair few. At least now we are able to do something, and get the people in to see the renovations.
“We have moved the Bognor post office into the downstairs with the help the good lads on the hall board.”
“It should be easy to get another 60 years out of the centre. It was built in 1958. If the roof is maintained, it should be here for a long time.”
Board member Marie Thompson credits the success of the community centre over the years to the Betty Clarke family. “We have the late Betty Clarke and her family to thank for keeping the centre functioning over the years,” she said, “for their determination and all their fundraising. And now we have Kevin Clarke as our chair. He has the same drive.”