Beginning of a dream

Nov. 17—When Tracy Cook became the executive director of Washington's PowerHouse around four years ago, he told board members, in the future, a larger facility would be needed for the popular after school spot for teens.

That future facility started this week with a groundbreaking.

"This will be 15,000 square-foot facility," said Cook, adding construction will begin sometime in the New Year. "The PowerHouse will turn 25 next year and we would love to be able to celebrate our 25th year in our new facility."

Cook said the facility, which will be situated on the current PowerHouse grounds on Main Street, will have a gymnasium, cafeteria and designated areas for the other offerings teens currently have including the shop and garage where students learn available skills.

A growing number of students has led to full house each day when school ends.

"We've been averaging 60 to 65 kids every day after school. Currently, we have a kitchen table that seats eight. Our new facility will have a cafeteria with seating for 80 and gives us room to grow," he said. "I am anticipating our numbers will increase about 30 to 40% after the new building is complete."

Cook said making the dream of larger facility a reality means fundraising efforts have been taking place and the city and county have shown support for the expansion efforts as well.

"It's a $1.3 million projected cost," said Cook, who said although the funding for the building in is place, there are still day-to-day operational needs. "Everyone is so excited about our new facility and we are too but we still have needs in our current facility. We still have kids we need to feed. We still have day-to-day operational needs."

Those wanting to help support the PowerHouse may visit and click on the support tab or mail to PO box 542, Washington, IN, 47501.