The Hammonds Plains Community Centre building is 80 years old in 2019. Constructed in 1939 as a two-room school house, it was doubled in size in the 1950’s and then converted to a community hall in 1969. Over the following five decades, repairs, upgrades and renovations have been completed such that the building has remained functional. However, many building components are getting old and nearing the end of their useful life. Further, half of the basement area is unfinished and could be developed into additional meeting and activity space.
This project has two goals. First, it preserves the community asset by renovating the entire building envelope, including new roof, siding, windows, doors and insulate where needed. Second, it assists the long-term sustainability of the community centre by making it more attractive to users. Specifically, it will replace exterior stairs that don’t meet building code with a new deck that will improve the appeal for weddings and summer events. While the main hall has had many renovations, this will complete it with interior doors and fully renovated bar. Comfort will be improved with an energy efficient heating and cooling system and a new heat recovery ventilation system. Insulating the basement improves energy efficiency but also presents the opportunity to develop more meeting and activity space, improving revenues and community access.
At present, the roof has some leaks, the siding is getting old and brittle and the wood windows are well past their useful life. Parts of the kitchen and other exterior walls are uninsulated. A new roof line will correct issues with leaks and new 30-year shingles will keep the water out for the next few decades. Siding, windows and exterior doors will be replaced. Insulation will be added where needed.
Main Floor Improvements
While the main floor has been extensively upgraded the past few years, there are a few remaining priorities, such as a new 38×12′ side deck, electrical upgrades, heating system replacement, new bar and interior doors.
The lower level of Hammonds Plains Community Centre was previously under-utilized. In the Fall of 2015, Andrea’s Music Studio began offering music lessons in the western half of the space. By the summer of 2016, this space was fully insulated and finished.
The eastern half of the space is unfinished as it has been since the mid 1950’s when the basement was raised and the rear half of the building added. This space is a major source of heat loss for the building and needs to be fully insulated. If we are to do this insulation project, it may be cost effective to add extra electrical and fully finish the space to make it usable by the community.
The stairway is bright with a window. It will need to be renovated to increase the headroom at the bottom, painted and new flooring. The lower level currently has four rooms. There’s a small room for storage of recyclables and a furnace room. The front room has two windows, is L-shaped and is approximately 27′ by 27′, less the furnace room. This space could offer a small meeting room for 4-6 people, an administrative space for the community centre and storage space. The rear room has great potential. It has three windows and is rectangular, approximately 28′ wide by 38′ long. The headspace along the centre wall is low, so this may be good for long-term storage space for community groups or users of the room. The room has character with old thick wood beams and 6 support posts. 3 of these may be incorporated into the walls of the closet/storage space, leaving 3 in the center of the room. Ceiling height is low, i.e. maximum 7’2″ and only 6’5″ under the beams. Would it be worth raising the building to give more headroom?
Check out the Basement Floorplan.
New Front Entry
The front section of the building includes a small foyer, bar and stairs leading to the basement. The exterior stairs pose a safety concern in the winter due to the number of steps leading to the front door. Plus, this entry is not accessible; wheelchair users must use the rear entrance. The interior stairs do not meet code and headroom is too low for public usage. The bar area is original to 1969. With so many weaknesses, would it be better to rebuild this section of the building? We envision a grade-level entrance, stairs built to code, possible elevator/lift, and a modern bar.
Hammonds Plains Common Area Rate
In 2018, HRM discontinued the Hammonds Plains Common Area Rate. This fund had nearly $400,000 in it and is designated for recreational and other purposes within the catchment area. Hammonds Plains Community Centre submitted a proposal for funding to address a long list of improvements which would secure the centre for the next generation of Hammonds Plains residents. At the May 21, 2019 meeting, HRM Council approved $150,000 in funding from the Hammonds Plains Common Area Rate. Thank you to Councillor Whitman, the North West Community Council and Regional Council for supporting this project!
At a minimum, these funds will be used to upgrade the building envelope to protect the assets. However, there is a greater opportunity to leverage these funds with other grants and funding programs to make the space more usable. HPCC will engage with Provincial and Federal government departments and apply for funding to include other priority items.
What would you like to see?
Send us your ideas or feedback!