Beautiful and Historic, The Wilkinson Center Provides a Versatile Venue for Your Event
The Wilkinson Center is a beautifully renovated high school featuring a large ballroom setting with stage. In addition, there is an attached catering kitchen. Tables and chairs are included in the rental price. Linens are available at an additional charge.
The John A. Wilkinson building was built in 1937-38 by the Public Works Administration. Six other schools in Beaufort County were also constructed by The PWA in the late 1930’s. The building was called The Belhaven High School until the mid 1940’s, when it was renamed to honor one of Belhaven’s first and leading citizens, John Aaron Wilkinson. The high school itself has seen 51 graduating classes from 1938 to 1989. The Class of 1938 held their graduation in the newly constructed auditorium in the Spring of 1938. The building was used as a Junior High School from 1989-1997.
The hurricanes of 1996 caused the schools in Belhaven to be closed and plans for new schools outside the flood plain arose. A major effort within the community began to try to save the John A. Wilkinson High School building via The National Historic Registry.
The Friends of JAW; The Wilkinson Center, was organized and incorporated on November 17, 1998. The Wilkinson Center became a member of the National Trust of Historic Preservation in January 1999. The non-profit Wilkinson Center’s goal is the preservation of the JAW building for the use of the entire community.
Today The Wilkinson Center is a beautiful asset to our community and provides a wonderful venue for weddings and different types of events that range from dances to beauty contests, to art shows. With the help of fundraising events and tax exempt contributions, we are able to maintain this very versatile structure and to help keep it available to our community for tomorrow and always.