After nearly eight years of planning and persevering, the Pender Community Center will open its doors in January 2018. The $6.2 million, 38,500 square-foot facility, located in the middle of town on Main Street, is large enough to comfortably accommodate all of Pender’s 1,055 residents.
An open house is planned to showcase Pender’s new point of pride on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018 from 5 – 7 p.m.
The event will include tours of the center’s four tenants – Anytime Fitness Center, Little Sprouts Child Development Center, and the Pender Village and Veterans offices – at 5:20 and 5:40 p.m., followed by a short program and dedication.
In addition to serving the everyday needs of area citizens, the Pender Community Center will be available for weddings, special events, trade shows, and more. The facility has a multi-purpose room that can accommodate up to 832 people, and an event hall for up to 400 people, plus two community rooms for smaller meetings.
The center was built with the area’s growing number of families in mind. It will offer ample practice space for sports teams of all ages. The Pender Booster Club has committed to sponsoring all membership fees for Pender Public School students using the multi-purpose room. The child development center will provide educational programming for 40 infants and preschool children, and create nine full-time jobs.
The center is built on the site of the former Pender Legion Hall, which had served the community for more than 90 years. The building was removed to make way for the new construction.
“The Center addresses the needs of area business and families,” said Sonya Kelly, Pender Community Center board president. “The project began with a survey of Pender area residents to determine what was most needed. We initially thought that the project would just involve a fitness center. The survey clearly identified the need for all the other amenities that are included in our new community center. The project just blossomed into what we have today, and importantly, we are keeping all these services local,” Kelly said.
Fundraising for the multi-faceted facility began in 2014, and will continue, as project leaders build an endowment to help support operations. All the project funding has come from private charitable contributions and foundation grants.