The Peggy Crosby Center Community Service Center (PCC) property on South Fifth Street in Highlands, NC, was the first hospital in the community. The original building was constructed in the late 1940’s and expanded in the mid 1960’s. In the early 1990’s a new hospital was built in Highlands and it opened in 1993 during one of the worst snow storms in the town’s history. The town was without power for over a week and the hospital moved to the new campus because of the large generator there.
Over the next few years a group of involved community leaders led by Mr. Erv Baumrucker worked with the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital to turn the old hospital into a property to house and serve the community’s non-profit and other service organizations. Initially the Hospital leased the property to and later sold it to PCC for a token amount. PCC became a non-profit organization in 1994 and the renovated property opened in 1996 as The Peggy Crosby Community Service Center
Funds were raised for the renovation over a number of years. Major donations and grants came from Mr. Philip B. Crosby in honor of his wife Peggy (for whom PCC is named), the Duke Endowment, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, and Mrs. Louis Randally. Many individuals and other charitable groups, as well as local churches, also contributed to the efforts. Over $700,000 was raised for the renovations and to cover the initial years’ operational deficits.
In 2010 a five-year multi-phase renovation project was begun to provide infrastructure upgrades, increased parking, and new landscaping. Since that time, the building has transformed, inside and out. Energy efficiency was a focus of the project. Windows, doors, lighting, plumbing, generator, and HVAC systems were replaced. The tenant spaces were refurbished and the common areas given a beauty treatment; complete with new bathrooms, paint, and flooring.
In 2016, PCC began a new five-year improvement and upgrade plan for the property. Reserves have been established to hold rents as close to the current level as possible and for roof replacement, parking lot repaving, and new HVAC equipment. Additional landscaping, tree maintenance, and retaining walls improvements are also included as funds are raised.
As luck would have it, PCC is home to some of nature’s most valuable trees. A Franklinia tree, considered to be one of the rarest in the world, anchors the front of the property. Also in residence are a Nordman fir, a well-known indicator of environmental change, and a European fir (likely planted by early pioneer, Thomas G. Harbison, as was the Franklinia tree).
The Peggy Crosby Center has become a place its tenants and their clients are proud to call home. Very few communities anywhere have such a facility which exists to serve those who serve others.