The Warfield Community Hall is ready for a look-see after undergoing an extensive facelift.
The facility has been under construction since last fall and closed since January for the $800,000 project that includes new amenities and building code upgrades.
Public speculation and ongoing curiosity about what’s happening behind closed doors prompted village staff and council to host an open house Saturday from 2-4 p.m., although there’s still a few unfinished details.
“People have been asking about what we are doing,” said Warfield Mayor Bert Crockett. “So this is an opportunity for the public to have a walk through and see what we’ve done with their tax dollars. And it’s important because our hall is the hub of community.”
The most sizeable facet of the project was upgrading the hall’s aged bones to bring the building’s plumbing, structural components and electrical panels up to code.
Guests may notice how cool the hall is this weekend, because for the first time, air conditioning was installed along with a modern heating system for the colder months of the year.
“Air conditioning was added, which was what we needed most,” said Crockett. “The hall is well used in the summer and was hot as heck,” he continued. “And the old heater in the corner that used to rattle and bang is gone, with a brand new HVAC system in place.”
The centrally located hall has an enclosed park-like area with BBQ amenities, which has made the site a well used venue for weddings, parties, and community functions throughout the year.
Now, with a spacious state-of-the art kitchen added to the rear of the building, people hoping to rent the facility may have to plan well in advance because the current wait list is about two-years.
“It’s a perfect wedding or graduation venue,” said Crockett. “We were already booked solid and with more people calling especially during the summer, we had to get this done.”
The kitchen houses commercial grade appliances, including a large gas range, two convection ovens, a warming oven, a double-sized refrigerator and a stainless steel dishwasher.
“We started putting money away in 2007 after regional folded,” Crockett explained. “We knew we had to do the upgrades then and we decided to go the whole nine yards.”
Wheelchair accessible washrooms are located in the new addition and easily accessed from the side of the building. Toward the back of the facility, a public restroom will be available during set times of the day.
With the costly renovations complete, the added square footage increases the amount of janitorial service required, explained the mayor, but the current $125 rental fee will only be raised slightly.
“We don’t want to raise the price because we want the hall to remain well used,” he said. “There’s no use in fixing places up then raising the rent so high that no one can afford it. Rent will be a little bit more but not so substantial to make it unaffordable – the point is to keep the place busy.”
The project expanded the hall’s capacity from 150 people up to 203, which increases the likelihood of renting to larger consulting groups for business seminars, Crockett added.
“We’ve already had inquiries for 200 seats and they did tell us the wheelchair accessibility makes this good venue for seminars. So now we’re on that list.”