By Kathy Johnson
Despite the slow economy and the persistent challenges of upkeep and remodeling a 1938 school building, the Rockfish Valley Community Center (RVCC) has come through 2012 with flying colors.
A new management team finished the year with a bang and is hoping for the same success in 2013. New Executive Director G. Stuart Mills said the RVCC is starting their “Drive for Five” campaign–actually, they are closing in on the five–that’s 500 members participating in and supporting RVCC. Mills (who started October 1), along with Sara Taylor, operations manager (she joined July 16) and Marie Dennis, new Treasure Chest manager (her first day was November 27) comprise the new team.
Last year the center completed the old gymnasium renovation, which took approximately three months and lots of person hours (mostly volunteer) to complete. The old dropped ceiling was removed and replaced with a beveled ceiling that allows natural light from numerous windows to flood the once dark room with daylight. The new “auditorium” provides a great space for large meetings, fundraisers and other events, and, Mills said, “The acoustics are unbelievable … and we have the ability now for the room to go from dimly lit elegance to full blown fluorescence.”
Of course, the solid maple floor still needs work, but that’s to come, explained Mills. “We were just about at 50 percent complete on our new ‘Floor Us’ campaign, when just before Christmas a check arrived putting us over the top,” Mills said. “The support from the community and donors has just been fantastic.” He has talked to the contractor and “hopefully it will only take a long weekend in mid-February to complete the floors.”
Mills said the police were unable to catch up with thieves who stole Christmas trees from RVCC, but even that had a silver lining. “The trees were stolen on Friday and on Wednesday a fellow came in and introduced himself and said he was ‘very perturbed’ that someone would steal from RVCC.” A few days later Mills opened a letter to find a check from the man for $500 to cover the profit lost from the sale of the trees. Mills was unwilling to identify the good Samaritans, saying only that they are local people, and it is that kind of enthusiasm and generosity that has really made his first three months exciting and rewarding.
RVCC recently lost long time Treasure Chest thrift store manager Lynn Mark when she moved away, and new manager Marie Dennis is getting her feet wet. “It took me one week to find all the light switches,” she said with a grin. Dennis said the Treasure Chest is “a magical place. On a Saturday afternoon it’s like a party in here. Everyone in the county comes here to drop off or pick up things.” The TC will be picking up some space from renovations being done since the Hamner Theatre left this fall, and plans include being able to handle some furniture.
Taking some of the space where the Hamner was once located is a new lounge and a 20- by 20-foot meeting room, ideal for anyone looking for classroom space. It will accommodate 20 to 30 people. “We were just given a big plasma TV that could go in there,” said Mills. Use of the remaining former theater space is unsettled.
“We are $40,000 away from being done [with all the infrastructure needs],” said Mills.
On the horizon, Mills said, are other projects. “We have ten acres here. I’d like to recondition the ball field and for a long time we’ve wanted to put in a walking trail with exercise stops along the way. We’ve got to hear from our members and the community. What do they want? We’re the space.”
January plans include the regular First Saturday Pancake Breakfast January 5 starting at 8:30. Also on the 5th from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. RVCC will host a Red Cross Blood Drive with the first 50 donors receiving a $10 coupon good for food or beverages at Blue Mountain Brewery. At 4 p.m. the Jim Brewer art exhibit and artist’s reception will be held.
On January 12 the Giving Hope Foundation will host the Miss Giving Hope Pageant at 3 p.m. On January 18 Barbara Martin and Liz Barnes perform at 7 p.m., and on the 26th the Inscape Quartet will perform at 7:30 p.m. For more information about these or other events at RVCC visit www.rockfishcc.org.