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Renovations begin on St. Michaels Community Center

Architect Mark McInturff walks toward the front of the now-gutted lumber warehouse building that has been serving as the St. Michaels Community Center for more than 30 years. The building is now under major renovation through 2023. (Submitted photo)

Renovations have begun on the St. Michael’s Community Center (SMCC), part of its first capital campaign in 32 years to renew, rebuild and revitalize its aged building in the Town’s Historic District.

The St. Michaels Community Center purchased its Railroad Avenue headquarters in 2015. The structure was constructed before World War II as a lumber storage warehouse. It’s had only minimal changes and upgrades since then. The nonprofit has made do with its crudely constructed interior, no windows, no heat or air conditioning in most of the building, and without handicapped accessibility, among other issues.

The planned renovations will include a fully equipped modern commercial kitchen to expand food distribution and meal service to those in need, and training for jobs in restaurants and hotels. Bright, well-equipped classrooms and a multipurpose room for community gatherings are included in the plans, with the community center anticipating double the number of people making use of the center compared to today’s participation levels, once the new building is fully operational.

Funds for the project came from grants and fundraising efforts from individuals and private foundations that are now being 100% matched by another donor through Dec. 31 as well as $1.225 million supplied by the state of Maryland.

Donations to SMCC and proceeds from its Treasure Cove Thrift Shop on Railroad Avenue in St. Michaels help the nonprofit provide year-round programs, services and community events for residents of St. Michaels and the Bay Hundred area.

Architect Mark McInturff gave a tour of the building Dec. 5, highlighting the structural plans for the project. Harper & Sons Inc., of Easton was selected as the general contractor for the project. Work on the project will continue through 2023.