Elizabeth Sugden Broughton Community Building nears completion

Photo courtesy of the Broughton Foundation The Elizabeth Sugden Broughton building on Ohio 821 is nearing completion.

MARIETTA — After months of construction, the Elizabeth Sugden Broughton Community Building is nearly finished and taking bookings for late summer.

The building, a project of the Broughton Foundation, is intended to provide a unique venue for meetings, receptions, family events and other activities. Work began on it in October, and foundation president George Broughton said the first bookings have been taken, starting Aug. 8.

“We are taking reservations now,” Broughton said. “We’re bringing in hotel and restaurant managers to make sure they know what the building’s capabilities are.”

Ten weddings have been booked for the building.

“It’s passed all the inspections, we have power, now we’re doing the drywalling, the final phases of the finishing work,” he said.

The work has remained on schedule despite a challenging winter, he said.

The building, which can seat 285 people at tables, has built-in sound systems and the necessary state-of-the-art technology for audio-visual presentations, he said. The purposes visualized for it include business and nonprofit meetings and conferences, family parties and weddings, among other things.

“We wanted to make sure this is an easily managed facility,” he said. “We worked with school districts, the hospital, and promoted it with businesses– it can be used for training. There’s a portable stage we can pull out.”

The green and white colonial style building is located at the top of a slope near the Broughton commercial park, off Ohio 821 near I-77 and adjacent to the Broughton Nature and Wildlife Education area. Broughton said it is named for his mother.

“We wanted to recognize her, and our family’s, love of community,” he said.

The Broughton Foundation established the 600-acre nature and wildlife area as a privately managed public park in 1993, and has played a significant role in establishing and maintaining the Devola multi-use trail system.

Broughton said the building area includes an outdoor plaza with seating for 100 people. It is fully ADA compliant and has no stairs, he said, and includes a separate disembarking area for people with wheelchairs. A “history wall” is planned behind the building, he said, chronicling the Marietta area from pre-history to the present.

“That’s kind of a cool thing we can use to promote the area and its museums,” he said. “Commodore (Abraham) Whipple owned this land at one time, and we want to continue his legacy.”

Marcia Stewart, past president of the Marietta Kiwanis Club, is a wedding planner.

“I was in on the planning of the building,” she said. “This area has always needed more space for receptions, events and big parties, so this fulfills a need we’ve had for some time. It always seems like everything’s booked, you can’t get the dates you want.”

The building itself, she said, “is a dream come true.”

“It’s beautiful, easily accessible, they have tried to think of everything that might be needed, whether it’s for a wedding or a business meeting, anything” she said.

Information on the Elizabeth Sugden Broughton Community Building, the Broughton Nature and Wildlife Education Area and other activities of the foundation can be found at broughtonfoundation.org.