Now, all Club Nova needs is about a million dollars.
The club recently got the green light from the Carrboro Board of Aldermen for its plan to expand its property at 103 West Main Street.
Club Nova helps people with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression to reintegrate into the community. It focuses on building meaningful relationships, helping members learn strategies for living, providing job training and work experience as well as providing social events for them.
Alderwoman Bethany Chaney said she was glad Club Nova, which has apartments behind it clubhouse building, will be able to expand its building and its services without having to relocate.
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“We would rather have Club Nova and all of its members and the residential component staying as one distinct community,” she said. “This is substantial improvement for the residents in terms of the beauty and feel of the space.”
Currently Club Nova’s clubhouse is a small house surrounded by trees, and Club Nova’s thrift shop is located next door in an older storefront building.
About 45 people a day spend time at the club, which serves 90 to 100 different members each month, according to executive director Karen Dunn. The members and staff have a culinary unit that operates out of a small residential-sized kitchen, and the members and staff make from 10,000 to 12,000 meals a year, she said.
The expansion will enlarge the current thrift shop building and raise its roof. It will become the new clubhouse, and the thrift shop will move across a newly designed courtyard into the house.
The largest space in the addition will be a culinary unit with a commercial grade kitchen and a large dinning room.
That will allow more members to become involved in the preparation and cooking of the food, which builds relationship and helps members nurture each other as everyone contributes to the betterment of the community, Dunn said.
The current dining room seats about 20 people, so the members have to eat in shifts.
“The new dining room will seat 70 so they can all dine together for the first time,” said architect Jack Haggerty, who presented the plans to the Aldermen.
The addition will also include a reception area and administrative offices.
“It’s very important for Club Nova to make this space feel welcoming,” Haggerty said.
“Yes, we are removing the trees,” Haggerty said as he pointed to a photograph of the house, which showed the trees rubbing up against the house. “It’s partly because so many of these trees are right on the house.”
The space between the buildings will become a courtyard space with water gardens where the members can spend time outside while still being offered some protection and privacy from the street.
The style of the addition will match the gable form on the house and on the apartments where some members live.
In approving the new plan, the aldermen agreed to allow Club Nova to reduce the number of parking spaces, put in an eight-foot wide sidewalk instead of a 10-foot wide sidewalk and install two rainwater gardens that are expected to mitigate but not completely handle storm water runoff.
Alderman David Seils said Haggerty had done a good job in creating a design that will work on the tight urban lot.
The next step is to raise about $1 million to build the addition and the courtyards, Dunn said. It will likely take one to two years to raise the money and about six months to complete the project, she said.