The event space at the club that was refreshed to provide better flow and functionality is now primed for quite a workout, as the South Bend, Ind. property gears up for its 100th anniversary.
The members of Morris Park Country Club in South Bend, Ind., are ready to party—and with good reason. With the pandemic largely in the rearview mirror and the recent culmination of a years-long, property-wide renovation, the club is showcasing revitalized event spaces that have been repositioned with better flow and functionality.
Originally constructed in 1923, the club’s facilities had gone largely untouched (save for a few minor updates) and required major reconstruction. “We knew that we needed a total overhaul to take Morris Park into its second century,” says Director of Membership & Marketing Lisa Chesnic. That led to a redesign of “every single inch of the [clubhouse] building,” Chesnic says, as part of a project that was approved by 96 percent of the membership.
Making a Grand Entrance
To create a more cohesive layout, the clubhouse’s disjointed event spaces, comprised of five distinct rooms separated by partitions, were repositioned and combined into a Grand Hall corridor. “This allows each event space to have its own entry off the hall,” explains Principal Interior Designer Sally Anglemyer, ASID, of Arkos Design.
With the Grand Hall extending into private member dining spaces and a secondary entrance at the far end of the building, these spaces now create a natural flow out onto an exterior deck. (The area also provides access to pool event space, enhancing a new pool house.)
Each of the interior event spaces are designed with similar footprints: the 1,690-sq. ft. Coquillard Room; the 1,740-sq. ft. LaSalle Room; the 2,240-sq. ft. Studebaker Room; and the 768-sq. ft. pre-function space. All are outfitted in a neutral palette of greys, white and black in a style that Anglemyer describes as “elegant with a rustic lean, due to the existing trusses and exposed hardware.”
These accents are complemented by large custom pendant lighting, while patterned plank-tile carpeting draws the eye downward. Neutral-toned chairs are stackable, allowing them to be stored or moved into adjoining rooms as needed. In the pre-event space, bar-height communal tables and lounge chairs set a more casual vibe.
Outside at the pool event space, simple sealed concrete and painted block walls are balanced out by the neutral interiors that include black-framed, glass overhead doors that provide a tie-in with the main event spaces. Industrial-style lights play nicely against a lazy ceiling fan, while outdoor tables and stackable green chairs offer a social-gathering spot for outdoor guests.
In addition to its entertainment venues, Morris Park also accommodates small corporate and business functions. “Our members were looking for a secluded area where they could host meetings and private family events and not be disturbed by other events or dining areas,” says Chesnic. A new boardroom, with seating for up to 16 guests, features a 21-foot-long table, granite countertop and an 85-inch television that can be used for laptop presentations or video calls.
From the Boardroom to the Bridal Suite
With weddings accounting for big business at Morris Park, a former event office has been transformed into a bridal suite. Located just inside the main entrance to provide easy access for the arrival of bridal attendants and hair/makeup artists, this room has a seating area, buffet table, shelving units and numerous mirrors. Restrooms are directly outside the room and in the common area.
While the pandemic cost Morris Park much of its event business from January through May 2020—a period that coincided with when the club underwent its renovation—the upside was minimal revenue loss. “We were able to have a few of the smaller weddings and events that met the health-department guidelines,” notes Chesnic. “With the larger event space, we were able to space all of the tables far apart, as directed.”
Pandemic aside, Chesnic is enthused by the impact that the renovation is already having for the club. Membership has seen a more than 56 percent spike in the last year, and the new space has also offered new value for existing members. “We were able to provide a private, socially distanced space for a lot of our members during the holidays who did not have the space at their homes,” she notes.
Regular daily and weekly meetings are now being held in the boardrooms, and wedding bookings are rock solid, with 25 slated for 2021 and 15 already scheduled for 2022. “We have had to turn a few events away due to our busy event schedule,” Chesnic adds.
MORRIS PARK COUNTRY CLUB
South Bend, Ind.
Designer: Arkos Design, Mishawaka, Ind.
Carpeting: Bentley Mills
Lighting: Camman Lighting; Ikea (pool event space)
Chairs: MTS Seating
Tables and Lounge Furniture: National Office Furniture, Falcon and Kellen; MityLite and Safco (pool event space)
Ceiling: Kinetics Hardside