Like the legendary phoenix, the new clubhouse at the West Richland Municipal Golf Course literally is rising from the ashes of its predecessor.
Built on the site of one destroyed by fire Dec. 30, 2008, the new clubhouse should be open for business in a few weeks.
Michelle Marcum, owner-operator of the golf course and clubhouse, never really closed the business. When the old building burned, she wasted little time bringing in a trailer to keep the course operating. Around a year later, she replaced it with a leased building trucked in and set up in the golf course parking lot.
"It's big enough we were able to reopen the restaurant and bar, but it's very, very small. We've been operating out of that for over a year. I'll be glad to see it gone," she said.
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Marcum broke ground for the foundation of the new clubhouse last year on Feb. 25. She received her building permit from the city of West Richland a month later on March 23.
"The new clubhouse is really coming together now," she said. Only the finish work and final inspections remain to be done.
The new clubhouse is larger than the one it replaces.
The old clubhouse was 8,500 square feet on two levels. The new one also is on two levels, but has almost 10,000 square feet. The new one will feature a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, a bar and banquet room, and a pro shop where you can buy new clubs or a spiffy sweater for the links.
Costs for the new building are running "at right a million dollars. I won't know the final figure until everything's done," she said.
In addition to the building, Marcum put in sidewalks, curbs and gutters along the newly paved section of Fallon Drive. Once the leased building is moved off the parking lot, she will have it paved and finish the landscaping.
"I'll be glad to be in the new building," Marcum said. "The whole process of rebuilding has taken almost a year."
The new clubhouse shares more than location with the one that burned. It also shares some of the same layout.
That was deliberate, she said. Marcum worked with her architect, Bryan Woodruff of Columbia Energy and Environmental Services of Richland, to incorporate elements of the old building into the new "because I wanted people, many who have been coming to the clubhouse for years, to feel at home."
But you don't need to be a golfer to enjoy the food and beverages.
"Many of my customers are seniors, some in their 90s, who are long past their golfing years, but they still enjoy a good meal," Marcum said.