BIG RUN — A new event center is being built in Big Run by the Big Run Volunteer Fire Department.

The event center, to be located in the former Big Run Carpet building on Thompson Street, will serve as the social hall for the fire department.

The fire department has set up a committee for the project which includes Chief Scott Bowers, Treasurer Marcia Bowers, Glenn Pearce, Kali Toven, Ryan Gearheart, Matt Powell, Chuck McElwain and Andrew O’Harah.

Currently, it is difficult for the fire department to host many social or fundraising events at the fire hall because it has a capacity of approximately 75 people, said Scott Bowers.

It is expected that once the renovations are complete, the new center, which will have an occupancy of more than 350 people, is where all events will be held. The building project is expected to be complete sometime in August, Bowers said.

The fire department is excited about this because there are not many places in the area that can hold that many people, Bowers said.

“We wanted to make sure that it works for us and our gun raffles,” Marcia Bowers said.

Since most fundraisers currently have to be held at other locations, everything they need has to be transported from the fire station. They have a trailer filled with their kitchen supplies for when they have to go somewhere for fundraising. In addition, some stainless steel kitchen supplies were donated to them by Sheetz — which has been a huge help, according to the fire department. They also received some of the supplies from the auction at the Punxsutawney school.

The new center is expected to have a stainless steel kitchen, air conditioning, new bathrooms, a surround sound system and moveable stage. There will be a lot of freedom to the layout of the main room for events this way.

“It wasn’t a 10-year plan that we went out and solicited funds for,” said Chief Bowers. “We just decided to do it.”

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Bowers also said, as with any renovation project, they ran into hidden problems to resolve. Some of it has ended up costing them more than they anticipated, but they believe the event center will pay off in the end.

“I’m here every day talking to the [workers],” Chief Bowers said.

The new event center, which will be available to the public to rent, is already in high demand. People have been asking when it will be open and two weddings have already been scheduled.

To keep up with the building progress, or to inquire about renting it, people can follow the Big Run Event Center on Facebook or call 814-503-0187.

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