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Historic Monclova School Growing In Popularity For Special Events And Classes

The Monclova Historical Foundation board includes (from left) Mike Laskey, Karen Lemle, Bob Conley, Claudia Anderson, Sandi Denniss, Bonnie Reihing, Keith Trettin, president Pete Siekierski and Jared Kalb. PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNIFER REINHART, MONCLOVA COMMUNITY CENTER

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — With classes, parties, weddings and special events, the classrooms of the old Monclova School are increasingly occupied.

During the Monclova Historical Foundation’s (MHF) annual meeting, Monclova Community Center director Jennifer Reinhart and MHF president Pete Siekierski shared with members how the nonprofit organization is now $25,000 over budget, thanks in part to a growing number of room rentals and fundraisers.

During 2018, the center hosted several fundraising events, including the Ritzee Resale, quarterly Trivia Nights, history lectures and community events for Easter, Halloween and Christmas.

“We raised $7,000 in events,” Siekierski said. 

Rentals of west wing rooms have grown from $38,000 in 2014 to $76,000 in 2018, Reinhart said. She believes the popularity of the center is due to the ambiance, reasonable price and the ability for renters to bring in their own decorations, caterer and adult beverages.

“We’ve had more weddings, baby showers and graduations,” she said. “First birthday parties are also really big this year.”

In the west wing, John Michael offers guitar lessons in the old principal’s office. Larry Loutzenhiser leads women’s self-defense, tae kwon do and tai chi classes. Seniors gather every Tuesday to play bid euchre and share lunch. A BNI group meets weekly, as does Take Off Pounds Sensibly.

The east wing has Step by Step Dance Studio in three rooms, Tracy Disbrow Photography, the Spring Green Youth Diversion Program and an artist’s studio. 

The diversion program serves first-time offenders ages 12-18, offering a 10-week course for both the student and parent, said Amy Clark, who recalled helping in the renovation of the old school in 1997.

In 2018, the dangerous back steps to the basement from the outside were repaired, and handrails should be added soon, Siekierski said. The west wing will receive a new electrical panel within the next month. Also this year, three new furnaces will be added to the east wing, along with restroom upgrades.

“Thank you to the (township) trustees for their support,” Siekierski said.

Also new this year is part-time assistant, Erin Walline, who works Wednesdays and Fridays, helping Reinhart plan events and book rentals.

Upcoming events include Trivia Nights on Fridays, February 22 and May 17; a history lecture on April 17 and an Easter Egg Hunt on April 17. For more information, call (419) 861-1336 or visit www.monclovacc.com.

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