PEP moving operations to spacious Bluffton locale
Lynne Cope Hummell
Programs for Exceptional People, commonly known as PEP, a fixture since 1995 on Hilton Head Island, is moving to Bluffton.
The organization, which serves adults with developmental challenges, has sold its longtime home at 10 Oak Park Drive on the island and has purchased a building at 39 Sheridan Park Circle.
The rambling 11,000-square-foot space that once housed the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office will become PEP headquarters, providing its members, staff and volunteers with plenty of room for all its programs, activities and services.
PEP currently rents a studio space on Bluffton Road, where the ceramics program has operated for just over a year. Upon completion of minor repairs, painting and outfitting of the new space, and receiving licensing for the building, that program will move there as well.
Until the license is received, the organization is operating its daily programs and vocational services at the Oak Park Drive building, which it rents from the new owner.
"It will be nice to have everybody in one place," said Steve Maglione, executive director of PEP.
That "one place" will accommodate a plethora of activities, thanks to numerous rooms throughout the space.
Through the spacious reception area, a hallway leads one way to staff offices and a conference room, and the other way to a large multi-purpose room, with individual office spaces around the perimeter.
Taylor Sullivan, community relations coordinator for PEP, said the large space might become a lunch room, or hold gym equipment, or provide a place for yoga classes.
The office spaces could turn into music rooms or arts and crafts areas, among other uses. A full-size kitchen offers enough room for cooking classes.
"We are really excited about having individual rooms so members can try different things and find out what they really want to do," Sullivan said.
Volunteers from Habitat for Humanity and Knights of Columbus, led by project manager Ayaks Castellanos, a Habitat supervisor, started in mid-May to paint and touch up the space. Castellanos said this assistance is a part of Habitat's Neighbors in Need program, which provides labor for various community projects.
On May 22, PEP members, parents and board members joined in to help with the painting. Sherwin Williams donated the paint, Sullivan said.
Asked what she thought of the new space, PEP member Catherine McDermott said "It's a lot quieter than the other building."
Neal Rose, also a PEP member, likely spoke for everyone when he said, "I like this new place."
For more information, call 843-681-8023 or visit pephhi.org.