North Oyster residents will celebrate the completion of a 20-year-long restoration project Sept. 8 as the newly renovated community centre celebrates its 100th birthday.
An open house is scheduled from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, at the North Oyster Community Centre (NOCC) to mark the first time in 20 years the public will have access to all sections of the century-old building, said North Oyster-Diamond Director Mary Marcotte.
Originally built as a schoolhouse on the grounds currently occupied by the North Oyster Elementary School, the structure was completed in 1912 and opened in 1913, said Bob Handel, president of the North Oyster and Area Historical Society (NOAHS).
Eighty years later, as the local school board contemplated razing the aging structure, Paula Shemming stepped in to save the building from demolition.
Working alongside Greg Wyndlow, NOAHS’ first president, Shemming arranged for the building’s donation to NOAHS and it was quickly relocated to the site on which it currently sits ― land leased to NOAHS by Bert Gisborne, Handel added.
“Big time” expansions and renovations have been taking place ever since, Handel explained, leading to
the addition of a kitchen and storage room on the backside of the building.
Renovations included both a new foundation for the building and earthquake proofing, all paid for through NOAHS fundraising events like its annual garage sale (this year’s sale is scheduled for Sept. 22, Handel said).
To mark the official opening of the now-completed community centre, a ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday. Wyndlow, Shemming and “major donors” are expected to attend, Handel added, and refreshments, pastries and musical entertainment will be featured as part of the festivities. History buffs in attendance, meanwhile, will have the option of taking in a PowerPoint presentation chronicling the building’s 100-year history, Handel added.
For more information on NOAHS open house, contact Handel at 250-245-0919.