The small paved area between the Winter Garden Heritage Museum and the History Research & Education Center hasn’t been considered much other than a basic walk-through for downtown Winter Garden.
By fall, though, the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation is planning to unveil it as a rentable extension to Heller Hall to the immediate east. It will also create a fluid presence along downtown Plant Street.
“It more aesthetically joins the buildings,” said WGHF Executive Director Cynthia Cardona. “When folks rent Heller Hall, it allows us to also rent out this space. So, we can tout it as an indoor-outdoor venue.”
The 864-square-foot open space will have a flat roof, brick columns, brick pavers, ceiling fans and lighting. F.W. Chase Enterprises, of Windermere, is the project contractor.
There will be no seating, Cardona said, but tables and chairs are available and can be set up. Those renting can also string their own lighting for extra effect during their event.
“People rented out the courtyard occasionally, but they had to provide their own tenting, and it just wasn’t aesthetically pleasing,” Cardona said.
This project has been in the works since the history and research center was opened in January 2015.
“As soon as people saw the fence go up, they started calling, wanting to know when it would be finished so they could book it,” Cardona said.
Construction is slated for completion at the end of summer. In the meantime, Heller Hall still is available for rentals. The space, at 1,248 square feet, can seat up to 70 people.
“It doesn’t impact any of our rentals that are already booked or are being booked in the future,” she said. “But eventually it will add to the space.”
She stressed that the courtyard and Heller Hall are still intended for intimate groups. The heritage foundation typically rents out the space for bridal and baby showers, birthday parties, corporate meetings and small church functions. An average of 45 events are held there each year.
Cardona said the WGHF is using funds that were left over from the capital campaign for the construction of the History Research & Education Center. Naming opportunities still are available.
For donation or rental information, go to wghf.org or call (407) 656-3244.
Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.