Clubhouse plan much more ambitious

INVERNESS &8212; Less than two weeks after its clubhouse was destroyed by fire, Inverness Country Club has selected a design firm and a rough plan for its new facility.

Chambers Architectural Associates of Baltimore will take on the multi-million dollar project that centers around an estimated 26,000-square-foot clubhouse, club owner Bill Ochsenhirt said.

&8220;They&8217;ve got over 70 years experience working with first-class clubhouses,&8221; he said, adding Chambers is in the top five nationally for clubhouse design firms.

The club has been able to move quickly on rebuilding plans since it was already preparing for renovations in 2008.

Now, with a chance to start from scratch, Ochsenhirt said the club updates will be &8220;much more ambitious.&8221;

&8220;We have a wonderful opportunity now to do something special for that club,&8221; Ochsenhirt said.

Additions to the facility, which will be 53 percent larger than the old building, include what Ochsenhirt called a teen activity room and a spa and fitness center.

It will still house areas such as dining and the pro shop, but with increased seating capacity in the ballroom and larger locker rooms, he said.

Preliminary plans also move the clubhouse closer to the golf course.

Ochsenhirt said the pool cabana, tennis courts and clubhouse will all receive attention to give the club an even feeling of newness and quality.

Meanwhile, the club owner and his staff continue to operate with makeshift structures. Ochsenhirt said a modular facility will be in place in the next 2 to 3 weeks to offer semi-permanent space for the missing pro shop, lounge area and offices.

He expects to operate out of it for the next 16 to 17 months until the new clubhouse is ready.

The busy task of moving forward and rebuilding has helped keep Ochsenhirt&8217;s mind from dwelling too much on the tragedy law enforcement officials declared the day after as arson.

&8220;That process will take care of itself. Obviously, I have my own anger,&8221; Ochsenhirt said. But with 650 members counting on him, he said he has no choice but to move on