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Big changes coming at historic Women’s Clubhouse

The little white building with the triple-gabled roof is something of a throwback in its Stafford Avenue neighborhood. It is flanked by two seasoned buildings, Guillebeau Hall and the Emmett Coleman House, both of which have been extensively revamped by Gordon State College. Across the street is the towering Gordon instructional complex. The Women’s Clubhouse spends much of its day humbly sitting in the shadow of Barnesville’s closest thing to a skyscraper. Both inside and outside, the little building looks much as it did when it was completed in 1929. That is about to change in a big way. The City of Barnesville acquired the building in 2014. It had long owned the land beneath it. Improvements to the clubhouse were included in the last SPLOST budget and, thanks to the one percent sales tax, they are now on the near horizon. The city and its engineers are hard at work on plans to remodel and stabilize the existing building without changing the facade. The plan is to replace the siding with hardiplank and shore up the twin covered entrance stoops. Inside the main room, plaster walls will be taken out and replaced with sheetrock. The fireplace will also be restored and stripped of years of paint. The kitchen and bathrooms will be completely redone and rearranged. They will connect to a 2436 square foot great room, the same size as the meeting room at the civic center, which will be added to the back of the building. Beyond that room will be a 672 square foot deck overlooking Summers Field Park. Steps from the deck will lead down to a patio surrounded by a sitting wall. From there a walkway will connect to the overlook at the park. There is a considerable drop off in elevation from the existing building to the park but the addition, supported by concrete or brick walls, will be on the same level as the existing structure. The patio will be at ground level. Thea area beneath the addition will be used for storage initially but could be improved at a later date. The goal is to attract weddings and other events. ‘We get inquiries about weddings and other events that the civic center cannot accommodate. With this, people can use both the front and back of the clubhouse and the deck with easy access to the overlook for photos. We have a good many people rent the overlook and park for weddings,’ city manager David Rose reported. ‘We could also host simultaneous events in the front and the back of the clubhouse.’ ’I’m delighted this is going to happen. I was so afraid the building would be torn done. I’m glad I will be alive to see it fixed up. It is an historic building,’ noted Claudine White who started cooking in the clubhouse’s cramped kitchen in 1972 and stayed for 42 years. ’When I started we were cooking for Rotary, Kiwanis, Women’s League, Women’s Club and the Barnesville Civic Club,’ White said. She began as a helper to her mother-in-law Iola White. Five generations of her family worked in the kitchen including her daughters Carlette Davidson and Pippa Lee Davis; grandchildren Rachael Morrison and Seth and Jackson Pippin, and great-grandson Brogen Long. Rose hopes the project can be let for bids next spring. He expects the cost to come in around $600,000. ’We are going to do it right. It will be a showcase but we will make sure we protect the historical integrity of the existing structure,’ Rose concluded.

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