The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

July 2, 2013

Renovation on Nichols building begins for VINE

Renovation to transform site into activity center

MANKATO — Construction began this week on VINE Faith in Action's new facility.

Executive Director Pam Determan said the project, which will transform the downtown Nichols Office Building into a center for VINE and its work as well as provide office space for several nonprofits, is scheduled to be finished in about a year.

Among the last things that needed to happen prior to commencement of construction was the removal of a long-vacant house on the corner of the Nichols building property. That was done last weekend, and construction began Tuesday.

“We decided not to do a big gold shovel start,” Determan said. “That just isn't VINE's way.”

VINE acquired the building from Blue Earth County for $1. The County Board approved the sale a year ago. At the time Determan said they'd raised about $1.7 million, most of which came from more than $1 million in cash contributions.

Determan said they'll renovate the building in two phases. The first phase will complete most of the work on floors 1-4. The fifth floor will be renovated in phase two.

When all is complete, the building will include:

• A multi-use 4-feet-deep warm water pool.• A technology center with computers for personal use and to accommodate VINE-provided tax services.• A fitness center featuring specialized exercise equipment for those 55-plus.• A cafe/coffee shop.• A large multi-purpose room for fitness classes, dances and community use.• A cushioned third-floor walking track (12 laps will equal one mile).• A respite center where adult caregivers can take a break.• A yoga studio and game room.

“I'm excited to get to this point,” Determan said. “It's important the community knows we did take on mortgage debt.”

She declined to say how much, but the project's total cost is about $5 million.

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