Osborne should be retained as a community center

Submitted by Kenneth Kohnhorst

Several months ago, I attended a meeting at MEND office regarding the possible use of Osborn Elementary once the new school was built.  Since that meeting I have heard little from anyone in the community as to what to do with Osborn School.  It was my suggestion at that meeting for the City consider purchasing and converting it to The Leavenworth Community Center.   I still believe this would be a great project for the City to consider.  Why leave a good building go to waste and let us join the many communities that have Community Centers?  Since the tax payers paid for this school I would hate it be sold to a developer and the next thing you know you have a bunch of new condos.  It would seem to me the prudent thing would be to let this be in the hands of the city and let’s continue this as a tax-payer development.  My thoughts are that Osborn School building has all the “bones” for a very nice community center.
You can use your imagination….
1. Library would make a nice place for teens to come and spend time.  Perhaps some games, books to read, computers to help with homework, etc.   I adult volunteer could volunteer to be a monitor.
2. You could open the gym on certain nights for folks to play some basketball or other sports. In the winter folks could go walking for exercise.  You might also have some Yoga, dance or exercise classes as well.  The gym can also be used for special events, fundraisers, meetings, conferences and more.  There is a Kitchen which is a plus for groups that might want to offer food at their event or meeting.
3. You could use the office for a person that would run the community center and perhaps at least one or two volunteers to print bulletins, newsletters, etc.
4. Classrooms could be used for such things as:  Art, Photography, English as a second language, travel movies, workshops, computer skills, meeting rooms for groups and so much more.
Here is just a short list examples of items one could see at our own Leavenworth Community Center!
Classes/Clubs: Free workshops – Investing and trading, etc., Grant Writing, How to publish your book,Computer skills, Cooking lessons, Walking Group, Book Club, Quilting, Line Dancing, Learn the Hula, Square Dancing, Watercolor painting/Oil painting, Drawing, Music lessons- Guitar – Piano, Learn CPR, Self-defense , SAT preparation
Here are some examples of other programs that I found that could be of interest:
A peer-led program was developed in response to the silence surrounding the issue of dating violence. The DateWise curriculum uses presentations, discussion groups, videos, and group activities. The Teen Program Staff trains interested teens to be peer educators and to present the program to 9th graders in the School District.
Teen Program Staff collaborate with the School District to offer homework help after school to teens in
6-8th grades.
Event Ideas: Need to schedule a holiday party?, Holiday Bazaar or Flea Market, Meeting Place for various Clubs or Non-profits , Small fundraiser-Italian night – Kitchen is on premises, Local vendors show-Jewery, art, etc, Breakfast with Santa, Teen dances, Wild West Casino Night, Bingo Nights, Movie nights, Fashion Shows, Veteran’s Day-Free breakfast or lunch, St. Patrick’s Day-Irish stew Dinner & music, Zumba class/ Zumba fitness, Tiny Tots Indoor Playground – Very good for winter, Child Care could be offered, Celebrate your birthday with games, themed activities, and fun in an activity room, plus a designated party room for cakes and presents.

I suspect you could  add other classes, events or activities to this list as well.  

It would be my wish that you consider the purchase of the school for a community center.  I feel strongly that the community would step-up where needed.  Remember we never thought we would convert that “Old Warehouse” into a Festhalle and look what happened and I know that so many community individuals were there to help and “yes it took time …but it got done.”   
If you would like to discuss this with me feel free to e-mail me at graphicone@charter.net.

I will look forward to your giving this proposal it’s just due and consideration.  

Here’s something to think about!
This might be of interest:
In 1973, the rival Twisp and Winthrop schools consolidated after the completion of a new high school located between the two towns, and that year’s class was the last to graduate Twisp High School. The building was abandoned and sat empty for five years, slowly falling victim to the work of time and vandals. Windows were broken, and pipes had flooded the gym floor.
The school district considered demolition, but the cost was estimated at $600,000 dollars. Fortunately, the community banded together and cleaned up the building, repaired leaks, replaced or boarded windows, and hauled out the trash, all out of pocket. The building was reborn as the Methow Valley Community Center in 1979.


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