Fundraising campaign continues

Estimated cost for BW?Conference Center is $2.6 M

—Submitted photo An artist’s rendering of the new Briggs Woods Conference Center is seen at left. According to Kelly Haman, Briggs Woods Golf Course special events coordinator, fundraising is still ongoing to make the monetary goal. The conference center is projected to cost 2.6 million dollars. As of May 3, $1,548,000 has been secured. A series of grants are also in the application and presentation process.

Fundraising is still underway for the Briggs Woods Conference Center. The conference center will provide a central meeting location for weddings, conferences and other professional events.

The architect’s cost projection for the conference center is $2.6 million which encompasses the entire project — site work, construction, landscaping, furnishings and equipment.

According to Kelly Haman, Briggs Woods Golf Course special events coordinator, at this time, the conference center has $1,548,000 in secured funds for the project. Two grants worth $500,000 and $90,000 are currently in process.

The project has already been awarded funds from the Enhance Hamilton County Foundation, Hamilton County Tourism through the SEED office, Webster City Hotel/Motel Tax grants and most recently a large joint donation of $500,000 from First State Bank, Van Diest Supply Company and Town & Country Insurance.

An estimated $600,000 in grants are still in the application and presentation process. Haman and Appel are hoping to fundraise nearly $500,000 from private donations by June.

“We have several hundred thousand of dollars in grants that we’re waiting to hear back on,” said Haman. “Obviously, fundraising is still in full swing. We still need those private donors to come through and make their donations.”

There are over 80 donors that have contributed to the conference center funds as of May 3, according to Russ Appel, Briggs Woods Golf Course superintendent/general manager.

“It’s quite a task to raise that amount of money,” said Appel. “We are still in search of donations.”

According to Haman, a public fundraising event will be held in June. The public will be notified when the date is finalized.

“We’ve had a lot of great community support thus far,” said Haman, “and we want to continue that to the finish line in June.”

The project started fundraising last year, then stopped to redesign the plans, and now the fundraising efforts have been restarted, according to Haman.

“We really want to make sure that folks have the opportunity to give to this great project and get their name on a brick or a bench or even a smaller donation without the naming rights,” said Haman.

Appel stressed that no property tax dollars will be used to complete the project. They said they expect to continue with fundraising through June and are continuing to search for grants to cycle through to completion.

Individuals who would like to donate to the conference center or have questions about the project can email Haman at kellyh@briggswoods.com or call (515) 832-9572.

Appel hopes to begin dirt work and concrete work for the conference center this fall. The building itself will be pre-engineered offsite and brought to Briggs Woods for final touches and completion.

The idea for the conference center began back in 2012 after the addition of an events tent at Briggs Woods Golf Course.

“That was kind of our way of bringing in more events and also a little bit of an experiment to see how much events could help Briggs Woods and Hamilton County Conservation,” said Haman. “It was incredibly successful.”

According to Haman, 63 percent of Briggs Woods Golf Course’s non-golf events came from outside of Hamilton County.

In 2015, they met with the Enhance Hamilton County Foundation about the idea of a conference center.

“They were incredibly supportive of it,” said Haman.

Appel got in contact with a golfer at Briggs Woods who is also an architect. Brock Cartwright started of the process with the original design drawings for the conference center. The idea began as an 40 by 60 foot addition to the existing clubhouse. After lengthy discussion with numerous vendors and the public, the addition grew to a separate building.

“Throughout several months of planning it got bigger,” Haman said.

After encouragement from the Hamilton County Supervisors in 2016, an architect and engineer were found to begin specs on the project. Gary Anderson of Skott & Anderson Construction and Wayne Schlotfeldt of Schlotfeldt Engineering were hired to make the conference center dream a reality.

The Briggs Woods Conference Center will be nearly 12,000 square feet big. It will feature a spacious foyer, meeting rooms, grand ballroom, commercial kitchen, restrooms and outdoor gazebo.

“It’s everything that not only we need but the community needs,” Haman said. “It’s going to be able to function the way we want it to. It’s going to be able to bring in all of that out of county business that we want it to.”

The three different larger meeting rooms can be operated separately or combined into one large room. The first conference room can seat 203 people comfortably while the second room holds up to 83 people and the third can seat 65. Combined to one large space, the room will seat upwards of 350 guests. There is also a small board room which will accommodate about 30 people. That room can also be used for a bridal changing room, an additional service area or for small meetings

Webster City Custom Meats has sponsored the new foyer area, which will be named in the business’s honor.