Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

The Robert C. Carpenter Community Building has served Macon County residents for decades. The building has hosted youth basketball, senior game practices, public forums, art exhibits, and served as a meeting place for the community at large for generations. Leadership in Macon County wanted to renovate the building to make sure citizens for generations to come can continue utilizing the facility. After months of renovations and a complete overhaul, the final touches are being put on the building and after the diligence of county employees and companies working on the project,  Macon County Planner Jack Morgan and Tom Ritter of Ritter Architecture informed commissioners the facility is on track for its originally planned July opening.

Three local companies from Franklin were awarded bids including Arrowood Construction, Inc., Jimbo’s Plumbing, Inc. and Bumgarner Electric Company, Inc. Southeastern Building Services of Avalon, Inc. based out of Martin, Ga., completed the gymnasium floor.

According to Morgan, all renovations to the interior of the building are expected to be completed by July; however, the exterior work, such as landscaping and stucco on the building, will take a little longer due to weather and daily rain showers. The weather has delayed landscaping which needs to be completed before the repaving of the parking lot is complete.

Renovations to the gymnasium are completed and include new windows, a new wood floor, improved lighting and heating, new basketball goals, curtain court divider and crash mates behind the basketball goals.

“The gym is beautiful,” Morgan told commissioners. “We’re going to be the envy of most everyone in Western North Carolina with that gymnasium. It took a lot of time, energy and resources, but I think you will find it will be well worth it.”

The project included a complete facelift of the building with improvements outside and in every room inside. General project renovations include a new roof and sidewalks. Permanent benches for visitors waiting have been installed at the front entrance.

Morgan noted that renovations include updating the building to be ADA compliant with the current standards and regulations including new handicapped parking spaces and access aisle. New push button handicapped door operators at the main building entrance and at the entrance to the multipurpose room have been installed to make the building more user friendly.

Room specific improvements throughout the entire facility include new flooring, new LED, energy efficient lighting and interior paint. New cabinets and countertops have been installed in the rooms in the multipurpose and craft rooms. The restrooms were completely gutted and renovated with new fixtures, flooring, equipment and furnishings.

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