Kiawah Island Digest December 2017 - Page 3

3 December 2017 The Sandcastle, A History (Continued From Previous Page) on. “My husband figured out how to turn them on. The kids loved to swim in the dark with the lights, before the security guards came at 9 p.m. to be sure everyone was out.” Meanwhile, several years after the modifications made related to fitness and food during the Sandcastle building’s first five years (see the first part of this article in the November, 2017 Digest), the building needed additional improvements. Kay Narmour, now KICA Recreation Director, recalled, “Everything came through the front door - palm trees, party rentals, people. The foyer was hardwood, and twice a rental company had to refinish the floor because they had scratched it so badly. Members damaged it, too. Sand is so bad on hardwood.” The 2005 renovation project improved the lobby and added a service elevator so that caterers would not have to come through the front door.“For the first time, members had a real entrance,” Kay said. The library and hallway got a hardwood floor. Upstairs improvements were made to the too-big kitchen and access to the third room. 2007 brought more changes to the fitness and pool area food operations. “The snack bar wasn’t vented, so we couldn’t offer the hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries that everyone wanted. It wasn’t a real snackbar,” Kay said. Dissatisfied with the “grumpy” lack of customer service, Kay had previously replaced the food providers with independent contractors, and in 2006 had even tried some vending machines; “They were not popular,” she noted. She wanted a real poolside grill. The 2007 project added the grill and remodeled the entire first floor, creating the current lobby and two fitness rooms, one for equipment and one for classes. The second floor remained open during construction; the downstairs offices were relocated upstairs and the resort provided fitness space at the Straw Market. Lost to the renovation was a lovely mural that decorated the aerobics room, which Artist Guild president Kathleen Kreuzeberger had painted. Except for the conversion of the pool pavilion to a bar overlooking the parking lot in 2015, the last 10 years have seen only maintenance projects at the Sandcastle. After 20 years, the Sandcastle is not the showpiece it once was. The second floor has remained a popular event location, but has often been inadequate for the growing number of clubs and classes. Kay has heard frequent complaints about the lack of fitness space and noted, “The dated style and décor are not up to Kiawah standards, and there is no view of the ocean from anywhere but the upstairs meeting rooms.” She has also had complaints from adults who do not like being in the middle of children’s games and balls at the pool. Terri Weaver, a regular fitness center user for nearly 10 years, noted that fitness class attendance “has gone up dramatically.” Part of that started when class fees were eliminated. “We went to the Sandcastle Committee and said that member health is really Conceptual Drawing of the Planned Relocated Bar at The Sandcastle important and more people would come to classes if they didn’t have to pay every time.” She wishes there were space for real locker rooms with lockers, better shower facilities, and some privacy. KICA COO Jimmy Bailey commented on the need for the current project. “The building has adapted to a number of uses beyond its original purpose. Much about it is makeshift. Because of the various Band-Aids over the years, we wound up with building storage occupying the ocean front space on the first floor. We stuck the Sandbar in the only spot we could find.” “We are investing significantly in soundproofing the group fitness room, which will improve the noise problems when an event in the ballroom is at the same time as an exercise class. We have incorporated a bar as a critical feature, which will have an ocean view and set up as a professional bar is. We will open up ocean views from the first floor. We are adding an adult pool overlooking the ocean. We are also benefiting from the purchase of the old Town Hall, now called Beachwalker Center, moving some small group activities there.” Funding for the improvements will not affect annual assessments; in fact, the board has voted not to increase assessments this year. Most funding will come from a combination of funds from the Comcast revenue sharing agreement, which is over $200,000 annually, and the operating funds surplus which has accumulated over many years. The Sandcastle closed its doors on Oct. 25 and is anticipated to reopen by July 3, 2018. Watch for progress reports in Digest. Article contributed by Digest Feature Reporter Sue Schaffer.