By Tracy Skrabal

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACHThe staff of the N.C. Coastal Federation’s Southeastern Office will begin moving into their new home in the town’s Historic Square on Thursday, completing an adventure that began in late 2012.

It will probably take a week or more for the staff to get completely settled into the completely renovated beach house that was moved last year by barge and truck to the square.

“We’re looking forward to finally moving into the new office and getting to work,” said Tracy Skrabal, the federation regional manager. “It’s been quite a ride.”

Volunteers and federation staff get the house ready for occupation.

The federation got a tip back in 2012 that the Palmgren-O’Quinn house in Wrightsville Beach was slated for demolition. The nonprofit group worked with the owners, who donated the house, and with the town to move it to the Historic Square.   The house was put on a barge in late June 2013 and moved from South Channel Drive, around Harbor Island and through Lee’s Cut. A truck then took it up West Salisbury to its final destination on the square.

A grand opening celebration and tours will be held on May 3 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Over the past seven months, the house underwent a complete renovation.

“Our goal has been to adapt the home to meet the needs of our organization and to preserve the historic coastal heritage evident throughout the home” Skrabal said.  “Under the careful oversight of Konrady & Son Construction, we feel proud that we have honored this grand cottage and its former owners. This has only been possible through the commitment of the Town of Wrightsville Beach, our contractors and subcontractors, and the generosity of many donors and volunteers.”

With renovations completed, the historic home will become a coastal education center and regional offices for the North Carolina Coastal Federation in Wrightsville Beach. With a permanent and expanded base of operations, the federation plans to offer many new programs, including speaker series, coastal ecological tours, partnership events with other organizations and even a coastal culinary adventure series.

The federation continues to seek donations of furnishings and equipment for the new education center. The federation’s “wish list” includes everything from aquariums and microscopes to picnic tables and furniture.

Although the federation has worked in the Cape Fear coastal region throughout its 32-year history, it has operated in a number of rented offices for the past 18 years.