‘The hub of this area’

New spa­ces un­veiled at Ber­wick’s KMCC fa­cil­ity

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS - KINGSCOUN­TYNEWS. CA BER­WICK, N. S. Sara. Eric­s­son@ kingscoun­tynews. ca B2

Bob Best says the newly un­veiled Kings Mu­tual Cen­tury Cen­tre is go­ing to be­come a hub not only for Ber­wick, but for the en­tire An­napo­lis Val­ley from Wind­sor to Digby.

The build­ing un­veiled its highly- an­tic­i­pated se­cond phase of con­struc­tion Oct. 20, which in­cludes fea­tures like a new curl­ing rink, fit­ness cen­tre, dress­ing room fa­cil­i­ties and meet­ing rooms.

It’s a project that was nearly two decades in the mak­ing, and on board mem­ber and lead fundraiser Bob Best is not shy of feel­ing proud about.

“This was many years in the mak­ing, and I can tell you it means a lot to Ber­wick and dis­trict as a whole,” he says.

The fa­cil­ity’s se­cond phase’s pric­etag is about $ 5 mil­lion in con­struc­tion costs, bring­ing the fa­cil­ity’s to­tal cost to $ 18 mil­lion.

It’s a high num­ber, but one the board an­tic­i­pated. Be­cause of care­ful plan­ning and con­tin­ued fundrais­ing, the build­ing so far is debt-free.

“It all started 18 years ago – we had a group of peo­ple whose goal was to build this fa­cil­ity, debt free, and turn It back over to the peo­ple. And that’s ex­actly what we’ve done,” says Best.

The fa­cil­ity’s new fit­ness cen­tre has cre­ated six part- time jobs and will be man­aged by the Town of Ber­wick. It’s now open for use and is al­ready at­tract­ing res­i­dents dur­ing its first week of op­er­a­tion, says Best.

New dress­ing rooms for the town’s ju­nior A and ma­jor midget Val­ley Wild­cats hockey teams – with shared wash­rooms and show­ers be­tween them – were also cre­ated, and an ex­ist­ing dress­ing room retro­fit­ted specif­i­cally for fe­male teams.

Among the fa­cil­ity’s most an­tic­i­pated fea­tures is its new Larsen Curl­ing Cen­tre, which hosted a bon­spiel last week­end to fete the fa­cil­ity’s open­ing. It hosted more than 30 teams. The for­mer club could only ac­com­mo­date 18.

Club pres­i­dent Mike Larsen says this, along with a fresh sheet of ice to curl on, has peo­ple so ex­cited that the club has seen nearly 40 new mem­bers sign up over the past week alone.

“What this means for us as a curl­ing club – we now have a mod­ern fa­cil­ity and are now able to host larger bon­spiels like provin­cial,” he says.

“Our mem­ber­ship is also up 25 per cent this year. It’s been a lot of plan­ning and hard work, and we’re re­ally very ex­cited to get to this day.”

Each sec­tion at the KMCC – the curl­ing cen­tre, Lions Club and fit­ness cen­tre – will be run separately, with each or­ga­ni­za­tion man­ag­ing their own space and its as­so­ci­ated costs, ac­cord­ing to Best.

“They each have their own power bill … and have to take care of any main­te­nance. This has been set up this way the whole time – each sec­tion takes care of hir­ing their own peo­ple, and their over­all cost,” said Best.

Still to come are in­fra­struc­ture add- ons to the build­ing’s back lot for fu­ture 4H and farm­ers’ mar­ket events, and a health and well­ness cen­tre also at the build­ing’s rear.

Best says the board is aim­ing to fundraise $ 75,000 for these spa­ces over the fol­low­ing months. He also says fundrais­ing will help keep fa­cil­ity rent low – like ice time for hockey teams, or meet­ing rooms for par­ties – so all com­mu­nity groups can af­ford it.

“It will be the hub area.”

Mike Larsen has lived in Ber­wick for most of his life and said he’s happy to live some­where with a gath­er­ing that “pro­motes a com­mu­nity syn­ergy.”

“If you took all the towns of this size around the prov­ince and looked at which ones have a build­ing like this, it’s a pretty short list,” he says. of this

SARA ERIC­S­SON

Mike Larsen and Bob Best stand at the head of the Kings Mu­tual Cen­tury Cen­tre’s new Larsen Curl­ing Cen­tre, which was of­fi­cially un­veiled along with the rest of the fa­cil­ity Oct. 20.

SARA ERIC­S­SON

The Kings Mu­tu­ral Cen­tury Cen­tre was nearly two decades in the mak­ing.

SARA ERIC­S­SON

A fit­ness cen­tre has also been added to the KMCC. The cen­tre is man­aged by the Town of Ber­wick and has cre­ated six part-time jobs. Other new spa­ces at the fa­cil­ity are main­tained by vol­un­teers.

Ax­e­women head­ing to AUS cham­pi­onship.

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