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SCA details future plans at annual meeting

By Staff | May 6, 2015

Michael Kelly receives the Gordon Schopfer Lifetime Achievement Award from SCA Board President Tom Sharbaugh. PHOTO PROVIDED

Members of the Sanibel Community Association gathered at the Community House recently for the organization’s Annual Meeting, marking SCA’s 88th year operating the Sanibel Community House on Periwinkle Way.

The membership heard a report on SCA’s busy year of activities serving the people and organizations of the community.

It was noted that 36 different Island groups have used the Community House in the past year, including clubs, non-profits, religious organizations, and homeowners associations, for their business meetings, work sessions, fundraisers and social events.

In addition to the group activities it hosts, SCA also conducts an extensive program of public entertainment, recreational, educational, fitness, community service events and classes, plus private functions such as weddings, family reunions, parties and memorials.

A special award, the Gordon Schopfer Lifetime Achievement Award, was presented to SCA Board Member Michael Kelly in recognition of his long service to SCA.

The Community House View from Perwinkle Way. Artist’s Rendering

Michael has served multiple terms on the Board and served in many leadership roles. He is a past President of SCA and currently serves as Secretary and head of the Building Committee.

In other business, three Board members who are stepping down after 6 years on the Board were thanked for their long service: Ken Kouril, Robert Monk and Bill Sadd.

Two new Board members were named: Marge Meek and Felicity Rafalski. SCA Officers elected for the coming year are: President: Tom Sharbaugh; Vice-President: Richard Johnson; Secretary: Michael Kelly; and Co-Treasurers: Bill Sartoris and Beth Weigel.

Renovation Plans

A highlight of the Annual Meeting was a report on SCA’s plans for the future, including restoration of the original historic Community House building and renovation of the SCA complex.

Plans for the renovation are being finalized, and preliminary discussions with the City of Sanibel Planning Department are underway.

To avoid interruption of the Community House’s busy schedule of events, construction will be completed over the summer of 2016, with reopening of the renovated facility in October 2016.

Local architect Amy Nowacki has been appointed to design the project, and Benchmark has been engaged as General Contractor.

In explaining the renovation project, SCA Board President Tom Sharbaugh explained that the original cottage-style Community House building which faces Periwinkle Way, now referred to as the “North Room”, will be restored to its original 1927 appearance in line with its official designation as an historic landmark.

The rest of the exterior will be redone in a compatible “Old Florida” architectural style, creating an updated look with a fresh and attractive appearance.

Parking areas and landscaping will also be redesigned.

Changes to the interior will include: a more open, flexible floor plan connecting the auditorium to the other rooms; a new and much larger kitchen; a new conference room for smaller meetings; new rest rooms, and larger lobby, office space and storage areas.

A covered entry veranda with drop off area will be added to eliminate entry stairs.

And finally, essential systems such as electrical, lighting, plumbing, audio/visual and communications will all be updated.

Commenting on the need for the renovation, Sharbaugh explained: “The building is long overdue for a makeover, and this renovation will bring it up to the standards of today’s Sanibel. The last major renovation occurred in the 70’s when the auditorium was added, and as with any infrastructure time takes its toll, particularly with a facility that gets as much use as the Community House.”

Cost for the project is estimated to be slightly under $2 million including construction, furnishings and new equipment.

Funding sources will include existing SCA reserves, monies raised from past “Dancing With The Island Stars” events which have been held for this purpose, advance capital gifts from the SCA Board and other major donors, and finally a public Building Fund campaign to be held in early 2016.

SCA Support For Civic & Cultural Core

The meeting also included a strong statement of the SCA Board’s continued support for the long-anticipated Civic & Cultural Core project.

Said Sharbaugh: “SCA’s Board believes creation of a new Civic & Cultural Core area will be a very positive thing for the Sanibel community. Actually, we see SCA’s renovation of the Community House as a first step in that direction. When the Civic & Cultural Core is finished, Sanibel will have a revitalized town center, new facilities for BIG Arts, Center4Life and SCA, and increased parking capacity that can be shared by all.”

In the presentation to the SCA membership, a new vision was outlined for how the Community House could participate in the Civic Core operations.

“While SCA’s Board has decided to renovate its current building rather than construct a new Community House on the north side of Periwinkle at this time, we hope to be able to move SCA’s major outdoor festival-type events across the street to the planned Civic Core Community Green,” Sharbaugh said. “This would include things like the major Arts and Crafts Fairs which operate over multiple days and are the source of our worst traffic and pedestrian issues on Periwinkle”.

SCA’s vision calls for the Civic Core project to include construction of an open-air pavilion on the Community Green that would serve as a base for the outdoor festival events and be available for other types of open-air functions, with parking provided by the new Civic Core shared parking lots.

SCA plans to advance this idea with the City and with other Civic Core stakeholder groups.