New clubhouse a point of pride

NANAIMO – Building opens in July to better serve community.

The 23

The 23

Members of the Nanaimo Golf Club have said goodbye to the ‘old girl’ and are welcoming a much-improved replacement.

Construction of the club’s new 23,000-square-foot clubhouse is six months in with a projected completion in July.

And it’s something that has been on the membership’s wish list for some time.

“The club had been trying since the 1990s to upgrade the infrastructure, and after multiple tries, was successful in 2011 after membership voted in favour of constructing a new facility,” said Ash Chadha, club general manager. “The old building was constructed in the early 1960s and served us really well over the years. But it was aging and the infrastructure was giving way.”

A planning committee, made up of members of the club, worked on the design, and the style of the new building, working with Chow Low Hammond Architects of Victoria and Windley Contracting of Nanaimo.

With an approximately $4 million construction budget,  demolition of the old building began in September of 2012 and work began soon after on the new clubhouse.

“Membership had ample opportunity to comment on the infrastructure plans and they really kept a good balance of the needs and wants of everyone,” said Chadha. “From the get-go we wanted something that would complement our existing pro shop built in 2004. The architects had to work with this design and came up with West Coast-based concept.

“I think the end result is we’re getting a building which will serve the membership well in the long run.”

Changes are significant from the previous building, with the basement accommodating more than 300 lockers, showers, change rooms and a large unfinished portion available for future use.

The ground floor has a banquet hall with its own entry, washrooms, bar area and an outdoor patio taking advantage of the view of the golf course and Departure Bay.

As well, there is a second lounge and patio area available in the summer months.

The biggest change is the addition of a second floor with a private dining room, lounge and deck.

And this was all accomplished using the same footprint from the old clubhouse.

“The reason for that was we didn’t wanted to take up any area of the golf course, we have no land left or right of the building and if we go to the highway side, we lose parking,” said Chadha. “We had no choice but to work within the existing footprint.”

Gaining approximately 5,000-sq.-ft. more than the old building, Chadha said the new facility is going to accommodate the size of the membership plus give the club the ability to host other community events simultaneously without interrupting either.

“That’s important because this is a building that is owned and paid for by the close to 675 members,” said Chadha. “Not only do they have a lot of pride in it, they’re also excited for the community to see what’s coming down the road. This building will serve generations in this community.”

Coming up with the close to $4 million in construction costs has meant a big commitment for the members, but Chadha said  everyone is confident they’re getting the product  they needed and within the budget.

“The building and its design is not by any means what we would call over the top or grand, but it’s a beautiful building keeping in mind its use and who the ultimate users are,” he said. “We had an open house April 21 and about 250 members and their families had an opportunity to go through the building.

“There was a lot of positive feedback. They seemed absolutely ecstatic.”

Expansion means growing pains and the inevitable challenges that come with it, but Chadha said the membership has been understanding about being without a facility.

“The usual construction challenges are always there, but they’re small, interim challenges. Whether it’s some noise, dealing with construction vehicles or parking constraints, they’re minor,” he said. “Everybody knows what’s happening, they know why it’s happening and they have been more than understanding because they see something positive being built and something they will be happy to be associated with. They understand it’s a short-term inconvenience with a huge long-term gain.”

Chadha said staff has also been understanding and accommodating throughout the adjustment, working in temporary facilities while some were laid off.

“They will be recalled, we’ll take a week to 10 days to get organized and ready to serve once again,” he said. “We’re confident the product is going to be top-notch.”

A grand opening is scheduled for August.