Inspiration for award-winning polo pavilion found at The Home Depot

coreyAlan Corey doesn’t remember why he went to The Home Depot on Whiskey Road that day more than a year ago.

“Maybe I was hanging some pictures and needed some hooks,” Corey said. “Maybe I was looking for oil for the lawnmower or maybe I wanted to buy some light bulbs.”

What does remain crystal clear in Corey’s mind, however, is that during that visit, he found a way to build a pavilion for polo fans at Whitney Field for a reasonable amount of money.

“I wanted to keep it simple, and I wanted it to be tasteful; it exceeded my expectations,” Corey said.

The pavilion also impressed the Historic Aiken Foundation’s leaders, who honored it with one of their 2015 Preservation Awards.

Corey saw a wooden structure outside The Home Depot, went inside it and picked up a brochure. In that pamphlet was information about Lawn Master Outdoor Living, a Home Depot service provider that manufactures and installs pergolas, pavilions, storage buildings and two-story workshops.

“I thought, ‘Gee, maybe we could put a bunch of their pavilions together,’” Corey said.

That led to him giving the Texas-based Lawn Master a call, and the company’s representatives told him they could handle his request.

“They came up with a design, where they basically put six of the pavilions together, and in the middle they put in the announcer’s stand,” Corey said.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held last June, and the Lawn Master crew finished its work in July, well before the start of the Aiken Polo Club’s fall season.

Representatives of the Whitney Trustees received the Leadership Award from the Foundation during a January ceremony at the Aiken County Historical Museum.

“I guess I should have known they give awards for this kind of thing, but I was totally surprised by it,” said Corey, who is a Whitney trustee and the treasurer of the Aiken Polo Club. “Everybody likes a pat on the back, and the award also lends even more credibility to what was accomplished.”

The pavilion, which replaced a rented tent, is 134 feet by 25 feet.

It has a wood frame made of western red cedar and a tin roof.

“It worked really well last fall, and it accomplished what the polo club wanted it to do, which was to attract more spectators,” Corey said.

The pavilion cost approximately $160,000 to construct. To raise funds, the Aiken Polo Club is selling commemorative bricks that will be used in the pavilion’s floor.

“The City of Aiken, when they saw what had been done, they decided they liked it and what it could do to bring in tourists,” Corey said. “They wanted to be involved, so they gave us some money.”

“We’re getting $40,000 a year for three years (through the local accommodations tax).”

Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013. She is a native of Concord, N.C.

she is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Each Tuesday, the Aiken Standard will publish a feature on a winner of the recent Historic Aiken Foundation 2015 Preservation Awards. The schedule is:

TODAY: Adaptive Use Award: Fusion Capital office

MARCH 3: Leadership Award: Whitney Polo Field pavilion

MARCH 10: Stewardship Award: Anne Thomasson for the Carriage House Inn

MARCH 17: Stewardship Award: Don and Sandie Nicolaisen for the Clark Barn

MARCH 24: Stewardship Award: Adath Yeshurun synagogue

MARCH 31: Wilds-Lipe Treasured Home Award: Heather Sargent for Newberry Cottage