RANCHESTER — Organizations continue to get use out of the former Tongue River Elementary School building in Ranchester, and soon another tenant will occupy space in the facility now known as the Tongue River Learning Center.
In August, the Ranchester branch of Tongue River Valley Community Center will move into the former school.
Erin Kilbride, executive director of the TRVCC, said as the Tongue River Valley community continues to grow, demands for additional space and programming have outgrown the nonprofit’s current capacity. With additional housing subdivisions planned for the area, she only expects that demand to increase.
TRVCC board members and Kilbride explored adding on to its existing Ranchester building but eventually opted to look at leasing space from the school district instead.
Currently, Tongue River Child’s Place utilizes two classrooms in the TRLC for its preschool program. In addition, the school district’s wrestling program utilizes space in the building still owned by SCSD1.
According to SCSD1 Business Manager Jeremy Smith, TRVCC signed a 10-year lease, during which TRVCC will pay $12,000 per year for the space it will occupy along with 15% of the overall utility costs for the building.
Tongue River Child’s Place pays $1,800 per year and other, non-district groups, are charged for space according to the district’s policy on facility use.
TRVCC has undertaken some updates and renovations to the former school, including bathroom updates, the addition of adult locker rooms and new paint. Kilbride said the total cost of the updates and moving will total about $100,000. Of that, Kilbride said TRVCC has raised approximately $65,000.
The move will allow TRVCC to utilize the gymnasium in the former school and the library for after-school programs. In addition, the size of the nonprofit’s weight room will triple.
While Kilbride noted that plans are in place to grow programming, the nonprofit will settle into the new space before adding any new options.
With three to four new memberships each month, though, Kilbride said she and her staff are excited to have additional room.
“As new people move in, they see what’s available here, especially for kids, and they know there’s a safe place for kids to come and recreate and be a part of structured programs,” Kilbride said.
TRVCC offers a variety of programs for adults, children and seniors in both Dayton and Ranchester.