News Feature

Brooksville
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, October 17, 2019
Brooksville Community Center undergoes facelift

Out with the old, in with the new

Sections of the floor at the Brooksville Community Center are being torn up so that the entire floor can be replaced for the first time since 1937.

Photo courtesy of Paul Fallow

by Monique Labbe

The Brooksville Community Center is undergoing some major renovations to close out 2019, starting with a floor that is more than 80 years old.

The center was built in 1937, to house the gym for the Brooksville High School varsity basketball team. After the high school closed in the 1960s, the town took it over as a location for residents to come together during holidays, times of mourning and celebration, and to celebrate local crafters. Thousands of pairs of feet have stepped, stomped, danced and ran on the floor over the years, and while it has been sanded and re-varnished a few times, the Brooksville Community Center Committee members decided that it was time to tear it out and replace it.

“We were worried about rot, and while it wasn’t as bad as we initially thought it would be, it was bad enough that we determined it needed to be completely redone,” said Cheryl Cousins, secretary of the Brooksville Community Center Committee.

The project is going to cost just shy of $50,000 upon completion, with the funds coming from donations, responses from an appeal letter sent to community members, fundraising events held throughout the year, and money already in the committee’s account.

“The community has been really fantastic in responding to the funding needs to do this,” said Cousins.

While the damage to the floor was not as dire as the committee originally thought, damage discovered to the chimney was bad enough to prompt immediate repair. A large hole was found in the chimney, which was causing leakage on the floor. Another newly discovered and unbudgeted repair was the windows, which were also leaking. Additionally, the damage to the chimney and the windows was causing the furnace to work harder than it needed to, according to Cousins, which was responsible for higher than necessary heating costs.

The chimney and windows have been repaired, and work on the floor began about a week ago, estimated to be completed within the next month or so. While this will be the last project for the year, the committee already has its first project for 2020 planned.

“We found some vandalism on the porch, someone had kicked through some spots, and there is some heavy rot,” said Cousins. “So we will be replacing the porch, and hopefully putting in a type of porch material that doesn’t rot. That was an unexpected project, which will cost us about $14,000.”

While many of the issues have been unexpected, the final product will be worth the extra money going into the building.

“There will be some huge improvements, and while that leads to more money, it will better the building in a lot of ways,” said Cousins. “The building is used for dances, memorial services, craft fairs, tree lighting events, cribbage tournaments, exercise classes, everything. It is an important and necessary thing for the town to have.”

To follow the progress of the renovations, follow Brooksville Community Center on Facebook.