October 7, 2008
Ocracoke’s Community Center sees another year of renovations
By SUNDAE HORN
The volunteer board of the Ocracoke Community Center recently spent a
day cleaning, painting, and doing odd jobs around the building,
complementing the renovations that have been done over the last few months.
most striking change is the entryway, which has been refurbished with
tongue and groove paneling, a big window, and new flooring. The old
double doors were replaced with a single door with a window, which lets
the sun shine in on the freshly painted interior.
Chairman Tom Pahl and board members Lyn Buchanan, Nancy Leach, Gary
Mitchell and Pat Austin have been busy implementing their proposed
improvements to the Community Center. They are now working on the
second year of a three-year plan. The first year included new wiring, a
new ceiling, and new lighting, but the most significant change, says
Pahl, was in how the building is used.
“We wanted to make it more user friendly, and more available for
public use,” he said. “We quit charging local groups when
they meet here. It’s now free for all the island’s
The board also petitioned for the county to insure the building so that
alcohol could be served at public and private functions. In years past,
renters would have to buy a one-time insurance policy if they wanted to
serve alcohol, which was cost-prohibitive, especially for non-profit
estimate that the spin-off revenue of a big event like a wedding is
about $20,000 in lodging, food, shopping, etc.,” Pahl said.
“The private sector benefits from the spin-off revenue and the
public benefits because we’re able to let the local groups use
the building, even if they serve alcohol, for free.”
Ocracoke residents also get a discounted rental rate for private parties and events.
“We tried to make it benefit locals in every possible way,”
Pahl said. “We try to hit the right balance between bringing in
revenue and being available to people.”
The Community Center is located on Highway 12 in the former 3/4 Time
Dance Hall. It’s owned by Hyde County and supported by Ocracoke
Occupancy Tax funds and the revenue it generates in rental fees.
The Occupancy Tax Board meets annually to hear requests from community
organizations, after which they decide how to divvy up the money. The
Community Center Board presented its plan this year with a list of
specific projects and their estimated costs and is grateful to the
Occupancy Tax Board for their continued support.
Last year, a new closet with sliding doors was installed at the
Community Center for a place to store the new tables. Another
pre-existing closet got new doors and storage for chairs. One of the
projects during the board’s recent workday was to assemble a new
chair caddy, and with it in place, all table and chair storage will be
complete. The board is ordering new tops for the small café
tables in the Community Center, and is replacing the cap rail along the
sides of the dance floor.
Riggs Ellis painted most of the interior, and Tim Fields will be
refinishing the wood floors. The stage area got a nice facelift with
heavy, dark curtains hung at the back to cover the discolored wood and
burlap walls. The board has plans to add a stove to the kitchen, making
it fully functional. Long-term plans include improving the stage stairs
and possible adding windows in the main part of the building.
A Community Center coordinator manages the building’s bookings.
To rent the facility, call 252-928-3162 to leave a message and the
coordinator will get back to you.