Upgrade complete: Betsey Mills updates HVAC system, dorms

Having just finished a half-million dollar renovation that included a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and sprucing up dorm rooms, the Betsey Mills Club is nearly ready to move onto another phase of the project involving its aquatic center.

The completed renovations took place in three phases and included an electrical upgrade, installation of duct work and several high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. Multiple local groups donated money and supplies for the project, including Weiser and Cawley, the Marietta Community Foundation and the State of Ohio. The boards that govern the Betsey, The Trustees, The Corporate Board, The Women’s Council and Girl’s Council, helped raise money through various fundraisers over the last several years including raffles and the Christmas Craft Village. The project cost close to $575,000.

Executive Director Linda Lewis said the next part of the project involves the lockers in the pool area.

“We’re still in the planning phases,” she said. “It should start before too much longer.”

Funds are still being raised, she said.

“It looks like it’s going to be a much nicer locker room situation,” Lewis said. “Part of (the heating and cooling on that side of the building) has been done, but there are larger sections that need to be done.”

She said the project with the HVAC system was a long and involved one for the other portions of the building.

“This (was) a renovation project to take out the old steam heating system, a steam boiler, and replace it with some very modern equipment,” said Lewis. “We put duct work into a building that has never had duct work; it was a huge project.”

The project started in May 2013 and was finished by the end of June.

Lewis said the goal is to make the building, which was dedicated in 1927, more energy efficient.

“It’s been an amazing project, and such a huge success,” she said.

The Betsey Mills was founded in 1911 under the name The Girls’ Monday Club, the result of a sewing class started in 1898 by Mrs. Betsey Mills. The building was donated to the city by William Mills and dedicated in 1927. The Betsey offers pool therapy, warm water arthritis workouts, yoga, licensed day care and safe, secure housing for women on the second floor.

Kathy Shively, Betsey Board of Trustees member, said she’s been volunteering with the project to spruce things up.

“It’s like you’re doing a giant spring cleaning job,” she said. “We had to stop because of the big project; the heating, ventilation and air conditioning project that went on. That major project is something a lot of people don’t see but feel the benefit of.”

The Betsey holds 15 dorm rooms, which are rentable month-by-month, and Shively said her work has involved cleaning and painting to help whip the rooms into better versions.

“It’s a very comfortable place,” she said.

She added that funds are trying to be raised to put new carpeting into the hallways and lounge areas.

Lewis said renters are needed for the newly spruced-up rooms. Rent ranges from $300 to $400 a month, with utilities included. Renters are required to be women 18 years or older. No children or pets are allowed.

She added it is important to thank all those who contributed to the renovation project.

“We had lots of contributors,” said Lewis. “We feel very fortunate to get this done.”

Shively said these improvements are going to be profitable for the facility.

“I think it’s bringing it into the 21st century,” Shively said. “I’m pretty proud of everybody who’s pulled together and lent a helping hand…Hopefully we can be successful to raise monies to continue the efforts that have been started.”