VHYC celebrates new headquarters building
It seems there is only one group unhappy about the new Vineyard Haven Yacht Club building. The building committee that got it built in nine months is thrilled. The membership who attended an opening night celebration last week had nothing but compliments. The staff is much relieved with a new kitchen, more showers, extra storage, and easier maintenance. So who is unhappy? Some local critters, that's who. As the project began last fall, work crews tore down some old lockers located behind the club.
"A lot of wildlife lost their homes," said Alix Small, the club's office manager, with a grin. So, with the exception of a few assorted varmints, it seems the new building is a grand success.
Moving and shaking
Susan Waldrop takes a moment away from enjoying the new facility to tell a story dating back to the late 1960's, when she was a teenage member of the club. She remembers a dance one summer evening on the second floor. With a whole lot of moving and shaking going on, the building frame apparently shifted to the point where the doors were jammed shut in their casings. "We laughed hysterically, and jumped out the windows," Ms. Waldrop said. "The next day, the building was condemned."
The following summer, a makeshift building was erected in order to get through the season. It was supposed to be temporary, until the club could plan and construct a permanent home. But that temporary building lasted nearly 40 years. Club members cheerfully tolerated rickety gear cubbyholes made of plywood, a trophy case hidden away where few could see it, cramped gathering spaces, a Byzantine maze of plumbing, and those outside lockers that doubled as a wildlife sanctuary. Just after Labor Day last fall, construction crews razed the "temporary" structure.
Building committee member Christine Dahl said the pile of rubble was replaced with a gleaming new club in about nine months. The building committee, including chairman Alex Melaney, Pam Besse, Anne Sheppard, Ellen Chasen, Dan Caulkin, and Ms. Dahl, spent two years planning the project.