First Season in the Spriet Family Visitor Centre

Eight months ago, staff and volunteers moved the operation of Fanshawe Pioneer Village into the new Spriet Family Visitor Centre. Our first season with this new building is rapidly coming to a close and what a difference it has made!

Up to date computer systems and a fiber internet connection has made us all more efficient in our administration. Something as simple as being able to scan and send a document within minutes has made a huge difference, particularly since all of our grant programs are going to an on-line format. Coordinated calendars means it is much easier to keep straight thousands of details about what is happening when.

Our new office furniture is comfortable and efficient but we have also noticed other benefits. The building is very quiet. It is constructed with solid block walls on the first floor to support the storage systems on the second, so sound does not travel the way it did in the portables. The temperature in the building is also very comfortable. We have heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. Amazing! The staff offices are situated on the north side of the building. They get the afternoon sun but do not heat up the way offices do if situated on the south side. And on a warm summer day, we open the windows to allow the breezes in. Very comfortable indeed!

For most of the staff, this is our first experience working in an open office. Personally, I like it very much. We have a team approach to most of our work at the Village. The open office is very conducive to collaborative or team based work. If you need to check on a detail, the person you need to talk to is right next door. Because communication is open, if you have information to add to the conversation or see an issue, you can easily join the discussion. However, if you need a private meeting space, the staff office and board room are available.

How much does it cost to operate, you ask? I will keep you posted. So far the invoices are at or below budget. But we need a full year of operating to really understand our costs.

As the season draws to a close, planning for next year is well underway. However another important piece of planning will also commence next year. The Master Development and Business Plan 2004 – 2014 has served as our long range plan for the past decade. With the construction of the Spriet Family Visitor Centre and the completion of a significant number of heritage restoration projects this year, we have implemented all of the major goals of this plan. One of the most important jobs of the Board of Directors is to ensure good long range planning is in place for the organization. The process to write the next Master Plan will commence next year and will continue for at least two more years. So…what would you like Fanshawe Pioneer Village to do next? Hold that thought…the board will set up opportunities to talk to you about it beginning next year.

Sheila Johnson
Executive Director