Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gerstacker Foundation supports White Pine Lodge update

The Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation has been a significant partner of the Michigan 4-H Foundation and Kettunen Center for the past 20 years.

It has provided support to strengthen and beautify the facility’s woodland trail and waterfront access to the Center Lake; provided additional support to cap the Vision 2021 Campaign to complete master plan updates; and provided support to renovate and name the Alan and Jean Ott White Pine Lodge.

The Gerstacker Foundation also positioned Kettunen Center to meet the needs for family programming with the addition of the new Rollin M. Gerstacker wing to the Cedar Lodge.

This year, the Gerstacker Foundation continued its commitment with a $50,000 grant to update the room interiors of the Ott White Pine Lodge at Kettunen Center.

“We as a group have been solidly behind 4-H activities,” said Ned Brandt, Gerstacker Foundation vice president. “I think 4-H memories really come to life at the Kettunen Center.”

The Ott White Pine Lodge has provided premium housing, offering semi-private baths, two-person rooms in the upper White Pine rooms and three-person bunkstyle lodging in the lower White Pine rooms.

With the addition of the Red Oak wing for premium lodging, Kettunen Center staff members have been challenged to adequately book groups of 45 to 50 people – the most popular and consistent adult group size for workshops or conferences– with the comparison of the two lodging wings for groups wanting the more semi-private style lodging.

As part of the update to the Vision 2021 Master Plan in 2007, Kaleidoscope, a nationally recognized non-profit conference center and residential consultant, recommended updating White Pine Lodge to ensure the quality accommodations that Kettunen Center guests have come to expect.

A skim coating of plaster was applied to the interior walls to achieve a smooth wall rather than the previous cinder block texture. Additionally, the walls were painted and the room furnishings – including storage, work surfaces, bathroom fi xtures, fabric, linens and wall art – were replaced to provide a consistent and attractive interior look with an intentional focus on lighting to increase natural light.

“The renovation of White Pine Lodge caps a total remodeling of all of Kettunen Center’s lodges that nearly doubled our size over the past decade,” said John Grix, Kettunen Center director.

"The transformation in WhitePine was amazing, going from cinder block rooms with 25-year-old beds and furnishings to an upscale, well-appointed cozy space. The remodel also gives us the flexibility to turn two twins into a king-sized bed for couples, fulfi ll single room requests on the upper floor and house families with small children on the lower level,” Grix said.

Originally published in the Winter/Spring 2009 issue of Vantage.

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