Eugene residents who frequently visit Campbell Community Center knew there would be a bit of disruption this year during a planned upgrade and construction to the building.

Nobody knew, however, how things would take a turn as a global pandemic hit the United States. With the center shut down indefinitely, manager Diane Sconce was able to speed up her timeline and accomplish the projects much sooner.

“The original plan was to build the new addition, and have us move into the new part as much as we could to have continuity of classes while they renovated the old part of the center,” she says. “With the virus shutting us down, I proposed to the builders that we would do both simultaneously. There was some hesitation because of when products were ordered, but they did a marvelous job and got everyone on the same page.”

Two years ago, voters passed a levy through the city of Eugene that would provide the funding for Campbell to renovate and expand. The expansion includes a great room that can be divided into two large classrooms and is wired with “smart” features. The expansion also includes a fitness center.

The renovations include a larger lobby space that allows those sitting at the front desk to have a clear line of sight to the front door and other hallways.

“Our new reception area is the hub, the spokes of the center,” Sconce says. “Those at the front desk can look down each hallway and know what’s happening in each of the rooms.”

The renovations also included upgrades to the art room, where several kilns were removed to allow for more room. “Now it’s almost a third as big, which is really nice. We are definitely looking to the future and, unfortunately right now, the use of clay and ceramics is not the direction we are going.”

Interest in oil painting also is waning, so what’s hot right now?

Sconce says drawing remains popular, as well as sumi-ink; watercolor painting remains quite strong.

Old cabinetry in the art room has been removed, and replaced with new cabinets, sinks and paint.

“You walk into the art room and it’s a completely different ambiance,” she says. “The intent with the renovations in most of the rooms was to make the old feel new again, and to provide a seamless flow between the old and the new.”

The city conducted a yearlong city to determine what local residents wanted in the upgrades and expansions. The city’s parks and recreation department polled residents, took a pop-up trailer to local events, and even made phone calls. They conducted surveys, sent emails and hosted open houses, always asking, “What do you want?”

Once the levy passed, the city hosted more forums to gather ideas on what the center should look like and what the renovations should include, Sconce says.

The center already had a strategic plan in place, but this levy and subsequent polling updated that plan, especially to include the expanded health and wellness component.

Once the expanded walls and roof were installed, much of the construction work has been happening just out of the public eye.

In July, they installed the electrical system and drywall, then painted. In August, they continued to renovate interior walls and finishes, install ceiling gridwork and complete the HVAC system. By the end of August, the plan was to complete more outside work, such as pouring concrete and landscaping.

“The blueprint of the addition is up, but it doesn’t look like much is happening,” Sconce says of the mid-summer efforts.

The wing of offices will remain in place, as will the current great room and patio. The center will be painted in natural colors of blue and green, with the same gray-blue painted on the outside. The new addition will match or accent the current building.

“Something worth mentioning is that we will have two inner courtyards,” Sconce says. “One, because our new front entrance will change. People will enter from the west and there will be a courtyard setting before going into the main entrance.”

The courtyard will have benches sitting amongst landscaping so visitors “can come and feel like they are outdoors,” she says.

The new great room will have roll-up garage doors so the center can offer smaller classes in another courtyard. The woodshop will also be connected through the courtyard, rather than appearing to be in a separate building as it is now.

“If it looks how it looks on paper and how I envisioned it, it will all be nice,” Sconce says.

In fact, she says watching all the changes take place has been “pure elation,” she says. “It’s literally so exciting to come to work every day, to see the process happening. We’re building to the future, which I love. We are creating space and community for our people, and that’s great. Before, we were limited on what we could offer because of space and size, so to have four more programmable spaces for folks is important.”

Not to mention that the new great room is full of large windows that overlook the idyllic setting that Campbell has along the banks of the McKenzie River.

“If you’re doing a seminar or long class in that room, it might be hard to stay focused,” she says.

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