Montreat Conference Center (MCC) has reopened and rededicated its historic Assembly Inn, revealing $6.2 million in renovations. While striving to retain the familiar look of its exterior, lobby and common areas, the actual rooms now compare to those in three or four star hotels.
Improvements include all new fixtures and furniture, custom designed carpeting, 600 replacement windows and a new HVAC system. In the first 12 months of use, utility costs dropped by $90,000, even while using the air conditioning that wasn’t available in the past.
Montreat’s 35,000 annual guests can stay in any one of several guest facilities in and nearby Presbyterianism’s flagship conference center. However, Assembly Inn, which accommodates 200 guests, serves as the central gathering place, hopefully now to become even more appealing to camp and conference goers.
“The use of warm colors, original art, updated fixtures and furniture selections combine to create the ambiance desired to inspire return visits” to this “treasure of the Montreat Conference Center and the surrounding area,” said Linda Shortridge of the interior design team.
Pete Peery, who will retire from service as president of MCC at the end of this year, led the dedication service on June 29. He shared the challenge placed on him a few years ago by his son (age 31 at the time), “Dad, if you don’t fix Assembly Inn, nobody my age is ever going to stay there.”
Peery showered appreciation on the many members of the Mountain Retreat Association, including Heath Rada, the newly elected Moderator of the PC(USA)’s General Assembly, and capital campaign chair Bill Scheu, for raising most of the targeted $17 million for the campaign (which, when complete, will include improvements in other buildings and a maintenance endowment).