“South Square two. We’re there.” Tyler McKinnley said as he stepped to the microphone under a wash of blue and orange stage lights.
The crowd seated on the old gym floor applauded. The old brick building has been St. Ansgar’s unofficial community center for two years now, and the community had lots to clap for at the buildings annual “Birthday Bash”.
“We’ve declared financial independence. We were going to raise the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag on the roof, but we decided against it,” McKinnley joked.
The two-story building, built in 1928, had a date with a wrecking ball looming a few years back after the school district moved their elementary school to a new building.
However, a handful of citizens and volunteers banded together in effort to save the structure.
The St. Ansgar Historic School Project Inc., as the non-profit group became known, have done all they can to transform the old school building into a vibrant venue for the community.
So far, so good.
“The vast majority of or operations are self-funded, that’s amazing for a non-profit,” McKinnley said.
South Square has brought a handful of new attractions to the community in the last two years, including a coffee shop, an events venue equipped with professional lights and sound, as well as a place to host various events and workshops.
South Square’s Birthday Bash capped the end of busy week for the building. The St. Ansgar Heritage Association opened their new rotating museum gallery, and the St Ansgar High School Art program set up their annual Arts Show gallery. In addition, a mini-golf course was opened on the second floor.
“It’s been a busy week,” Deb Freeman said.
Attendees of the bash we treated with birthday cake and live music from Six Mile Grove of Lyle, Minnesota.