PANDORA — The nearly $300,000 renovation project of the Arthur-Lugibihl Community Center was celebrated Sunday by local, state and county dignitaries.
Brian Miller, president of the community center board, noted the need for the restroom project has been known for many years. The project received assistance with a $109,000 grant from the state, as well as a $40,000 grant from the Putnam County Commissioners.
Miller noted the center held a capital campaign to save the former school building in 2004. Local officials and the Putnam YMCA worked to save the building, built in 1950, from complete demolition. Most of the classrooms were razed, but the gym and the former vocational agriculture areas were saved. The facility is used for weddings, graduations and other events such as elections. The Pandora-Gilboa middle school uses the facility for their volleyball and basketball games. There is a weight room and locker rooms used by the high school football team.
The facility was named in honor of Melvin Arthur and Dr. Oliver Lugibihl, both men with a long list of accomplishments in the Pandora and Gilboa area.
Pandora Mayor John Schlumbohm said the village owns the building due to the high cost of insurance for the board, saving about $9,000 a year. All funds for the center are privately raised.
The mayor thanked the county commissioners, including John Love and Michael Lammers, who were in attendance, for the money from the county’s revolving loan fund. Schlumbohm will fill the seat being vacated by Love as he is on the November ballot for Love’s seat and is running unopposed. Love decided not to seek re-election.
Schlumbohm also credited Pandora Councilman Paul Burkholder who suggested in 2017 that they seek state funds. Cliff Hite was the state senator at the time and suggested the village ask for up to $138,000 in state funds.
State Rep. Jim Hoops, R-Napoleon, said he travels a lot throughout the state and knows how difficult it is for a community to tear down school buildings.
“You as a community came together and saved your history,” Hoops said.
Council President Jeremy Liechty expressed the gratitude of the village council members, who were all in attendance, for the work the community center board has done for the community.
“It goes without saying, we do appreciate what you do for the village,” he said.