DERBY, N.Y. — Work has begun to transform the Saint Columban Center from Catholic retreat to SunCliff on the Lake, a premiere wedding venue.

"We think this is a spectacular wedding venue,” said David Johnson, co-owner of SunCliff on the Lake. “Upstairs there are 14 bedrooms and in the annex there are more than 40 single rooms."

The venue will be “A place where you can have your family and friends come from all over the country. And to be able to spend a weekend with them, not just four hours of running around table-to-table," said co-owner Brenda Shaw. 

The 15-acre property boasts beautiful lakefront views that will be accessible to the public for the first time in the estate’s more than 100-year history.

In addition to weddings SunCliff will offer week-long workshops in the arts and music.

"I just think this place is going to bring happiness to people's lives," said Johnson. 

Shaw plans to spread that happiness to a group close to her heart. Her son Army Sgt. Daniel Shaw died serving overseas.

She plans to create a program in his name to help veterans and Gold Star families.

Work has begun to prepare rooms for year-round lodging and weddings. SunCliff on the Lake is looking for local artists to teach its workshops.

Ownership hopes to open spring of 2018.