In January 2007, the long-awaited new facility for the college ministry finally opened. Only a couple blocks from High Street, this renovated abandoned building came with a large parking lot, which is very unusual for a campus area building. The free campus bus, CABS East Residential route, goes by every 15 minutes.
From 1905-1937 this was the site of a lively, popular amusement park called Indianola Park. In 1948 the swimming pool was filled in and the site became a shopping center. It took a lot of imagination to envision this place, abandoned for years, as something cool enough to attract people. There is now a pool hall, a store, a food pantry, and a pizza place.
We eventually decided on a look that was reminiscent of the 1920's with lots of wood, lots of windows, and lighting over the awnings and along the wood pilasters. While the building came super cheap, renovation costs ran much higher than expected. Also, the project took nearly 6 months longer than expected, leaving our group stuck in an over-crowded facility.
Inside, the café has an open feel, and we brought our furniture over from our old building. With seating for 150, the café is open to the public every day, and serves its own coffee. Our coffee is as good or better than anything in the area. Adjoining the café is the reading room. The fireplace adds some atmosphere during cold Ohio winters. Study carrels on the left offer free computer time including internet and printing. Students can finish papers or teaching outlines there.
A sizeable collection of reference books, commentaries, and other titles are available at the counter. These can be browsed onsite only. The whole building has free wireless internet. This is becoming a gathering place for small social groups and students who want a nice place to study. The spacious main auditorium seats 450+. Additional people can listen through the glass wall between the café and main room.
The speaker stands in the center of the room with chairs in a circle around. Two screens make multimedia material visible to all. The curved ceiling and wall have resulted in exceptional acoustics for our purposes. You can easily hear people sharing or praying from anywhere in the room without any help from microphones. Because of the centrally located stage, people are never far from the speaker, or from each other. The room has a surprisingly intimate feel.