Friday, November 7, 2008

ECCC - A Dream Realized

In January 2008 I was asked by the Eau Claire Curling Club (ECCC) if I'd be interested in building an entertainment center to include a TV, fireplace and display cabinets for the club viewing room. Preliminary drawings utilizing commercial kitchen cabinets had already been completed, but the board was looking for other options. This caused me to recall the six months club members' spent building a significant amount of the current curling facilities during the late summer and fall of 1995. At the time, club members' dreamed of a TV and fireplace along the north wall.

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During building construction the gas meter was placed just outside that space in anticipation of the dream's reality. In addition, over a number of seasons, Friday night mixed curlers developed a modest fund earmarked for just such a project. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to design and build this cabinetry and be part of fulfilling that 13 year old dream.

My design goals focused on creating a "WOW" experience people would encounter as they entered the viewing room of the club as well as make the piece part of the much needed change in the institutional look of the space. During the next few months, research and quotes were obtained for the gas fireplace and several iterations of the design were prepared in SketchUp - a 3-D modeling software - for review by the Curling Club board and a variety of members.

Gary Kucho, another curler and architect (who usese SketchUp for his work) assisted by preparing a 3-D view of the entire curling club facility. I inserted the proposed cabinets into that drawing and prepared several views for final approval of the ECCC board and the Eau Claire County committee responsible for the County Exposition Center (AKA - Curling Club). With the season ending in March the project was on hold until the 2008-2009 season.

With approvals in hand, including recommendations for additional doors for the TV cabinet and door locks, the 12' x 10' project began during the first week of September. The projected completion date was November 1 - just prior to Open Houses for the new season. During the summer a friend and fellow curler announced he'd like to assist and learn about cabinet building. I couldn't turn down some help, but wasn't sure if our definitions of "help" were the same. Turns out that Ron King's definition far exceeded mine as he was there almost every day during the eight weeks of construction and installation. He was a tremendous help and a blessing in disguise as this project, like so many, took on a life of it's own. A special thanks to Dave Wallace and Roger Kees for their assistance as well. During the off season, one of the fireplace bids became obsolete as the retailer closed. An additional bid was obtained and ultimately became the club's choice. During construction, additional research was done on the latest LCD - TVs and it was decided to move from a 42" to a 46" which required design modifications as space was limited.

The project was installed during the week of November 3rd and was completed in time for the Open House. The fireplace is operational and adds not only ambience, but a significant amout of warmth which will be greatly appreciated when its 20 below zero in January.

This has been a very large project but quite rewarding throughout its various stages.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Excellent work as always. Nice job. Hopefully I will get to see it in person this curling season.

Bob Klimpke