We are excited to celebrate another great improvement at the Life Enrichment Center. For many years, the Ivan Marx Pavilion has served as an open-air gathering space in our campground. Over the last several years, we have seen a steady decline in use; although the building and surrounding area were as beautiful as ever, it just didn’t meet the changing needs of our guest groups.
After careful consideration, we decided the time had come to invest in the pavilion as a more usable space. Thanks to some generous donations and dedicated effort, the space has seen quite the upgrade.
The first stage in the project was handled by a group of NOMADS between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In a few weeks, they framed out exterior walls, installed siding, erected stabilizing walls to protect the building against Florida storm winds, hung drywall throughout nearly the whole space, and replaced rickety screen doors with new sets of French doors.
They even repaired the sidewalk in front of the pavilion that had been unsettled over the years by growing tree roots. A tireless paint crew dealt with the exterior of the pavilion and the adjacent bathhouse, and even made time to recoat the walls of the Scott Auditorium and provide some much-needed care to the lakeside Prayer Chapel. The NOMADS got us off to a great start, and we can’t thank them enough.
Still, there was much work to do on the project after the NOMADS had gone. Thankfully, a group from First United Methodist in Fort Dodge, Iowa made the long trip to Florida to lend a helping hand. This church is home to the Wilsons, one of our Work Camping couples, and we have been privileged to host volunteer groups from the church as volunteers for four years running. They’ve been instrumental in helping with our room remodels, the Annie Mae upgrade, and the new ceiling in the Dining Hall; naturally they were a great fit to tackle the pavilion as well. In just a week, they completed an impressive bit of work:
they finished hanging the drywall in the areas the NOMADS hadn’t reached, sprayed texture onto the newly hung drywall, installed all of the windows in the space, painted most of the interior walls and all of the trim, replaced rusted and worn lighting fixtures with brand new LED fixtures, built a brand new interior wall, hung a rail of spot lights to warm the front of the room, and made some modifications to the kitchen area to make it a more usable space.
In addition to their travel expenses and tireless work, they also gave a generous $1,000 donation toward the purchasing of supplies to complete this phase of construction. Our hearts are full of gratitude for all of their generosity, and we are so proud to be worthy of their partnership.
Over the ensuing weeks since the Iowans’ departure, some members of our Work Camping community have been at work putting the finishing touches on the space. They’ve installed baseboards and window trim, hung curtains, built and painted new bookshelves, rearranged furniture, made some electrical repairs, and given the place a deep cleaning that was much needed after all the construction.
Looking around the pavilion today, it is hard to believe that just a few months ago it was a dusty, screened-in building. We look forward to living into this new welcoming space in the years to come.