Coggon Volunteers Repurpose School

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By Ellen Kurt

COGGON, Iowa – A building that used to house students and teachers is getting a new life as a community hub.

The Coggon Area Betterment Association has been working for months to give the old Coggon School a facelift. The North Linn School District sold the building to the Association.

Signs of age are just about everywhere around the school. Time has taken its toll on the building. Cracked paint fills the rooms and boarded up windows can be seen from the outside, but the walls hold a lot of memories.

"My grandmother, my dad and his siblings and I all graduated from Coggon School and my four children attended the building, the school here,” Joan Edmonds, volunteer, said.

Edmonds didn't just go to school in the building; she also worked there for 30 years as one of the custodians.

"It just thrills me that the building is being re-purposed and saved, rather than being torn down,” Edmonds said.

Volunteers with the Association are fixing it up. They are also getting a big helping hand from a class of AmeriCorps volunteers. The class of volunteers is cleaning the rooms and even tracking down and measuring all the old furniture.

"It's nice doing all of this work and then seeing it look new again,” Alyssa Belleveau, AmeriCorps Volunteer, said.

"I think we're all getting pretty worn out. They've been working us pretty hard,” Coggon Area Betterment Association Vice President Neal Baty said.

After thousands of hours of hard work, the school building is transitioning into the Coggon Center. With every day of work this old building is becoming a new community center for the future, and the rest is history.

"The people and volunteers in this town are just extraordinary. It has been a fun project,” Baty said.

The Coggon Center will be community space and home for all kinds of different activities. Five businesses are also moving in, including everything from a 24-hour fitness center to a thrift store. Project leaders are looking for more businesses who might be interested in renting space in the building. The building is open, people can check it out Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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