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Jekyll Island 4H Center to be torn down, replaced

Special to SEGAZINE

As Roosevelt Turner brushed fresh paint on bare and soiled spots on the Jekyll Island 4H Center walls, director Donna Stewart said she’ll be glad when the replacement is built.But she’ll also be sad to see the old one go.

“I lived here three years, right there in that end room,’’ she said, pointing toward a corner door. “You get attached. I think the fact that it was beat up and torn up made it more endearing.

”The center was built in the 1950s as an oceanfront hotel but the ocean is now at the end of a boardwalk through dunes that the ocean and wind piled up.It will be replaced by a youth conference center although the timing is uncertain. The Jekyll Island State Park Authority, which owns the building and the island, doesn’t have an architect yet so that means there’s no time line.

At some point, the Jekyll Island Authority said during a meeting next week, it may become necessary for the 4H Center to move out because it may not be good to mix bulldozers and students. That would be the termination of the 4H Center’s lease and there may never be another one, said Jones Hooks, the executive director of the authority.

Because it would operate like the Jekyll Island Convention Center, albeit for youth groups, there would be other booking arrangements, Hooks said.Authority board Chairman Richard Royal said the authority has done all it can to protect the integrity of 4H on the island.

“They are going to get a new $12 million building,’’ although it will be open to other groups, he said.

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