7/7/2017 10:10:00 AM Discovery Center building construction
underway aiming for October 2018 opening
The groundbreaking ceremony of the new Discovery Center in Osceola, Wisconsin took place on June 27, 2017. Among the many distinguished guests were the top ten donors. Pictured are: Mike Addy, Family of Dr. Richard and Mildred Addy; Stacy Bogart, President – Polaris Foundation, and Sr. VP Legal and General Counsel; Kathy Johnson; Orv Johnson; Mark Kravik; Deborah Kravik; Pam Talmage, Royal Credit Union Branch Manager – Osceola; Jim Kirvida, President – Custom Fire Apparatus; Joe Van Landschoot, General Manager – Northwire; and Mark Erickson, Regional President – MidWestOne Bank. Not pictured: Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation, Hardenbergh Foundation and Andersen Corporate Foundation.
Under bright sunshine and witnessed by a large and enthusiastic crowd of supporters and contributors, the first shovels broke ground at the site of the new Discovery Center at Fourth Avenue and Kent Street in the heart of downtown Osceola, Wisconsin. The ceremony was June 27. Key donors who stepped up early and contributed generously to the Inspire capital campaign were the first to hoist the gold shovels, followed by Village officials and community leaders. State Senator Sheila Harsdorf and a representative from Senator Tammy Baldwin’s office were also on hand to participate. A future generation of community leaders – the Osceola High School Marching Band – got the celebration off to a rousing start as they marched down Chieftain Street to Fourth Avenue. Emcee Robert Bullard welcomed the crowd, and the program officially began as the band played The Star-Spangled Banner. The theme of the celebration – Cherish the Past, Nourish the Present, Forge the Future – was chosen to reflect the concept for the Discovery Center itself, which is designed to showcase Osceola’s remarkable history at the same time that it serves present and future technology, community and business needs.
Retired teacher and long-time Osceola resident Robert Bullard, Village President Gary Beckmann, and Mark Kravik, business leader and Chair of the Inspire Capital Campaign took turns addressing each of the topics. Bullard recognized the people and support that created Osceola’s current public library, stating, “This event would not be taking place without their commitment to Osceola and the quality of life they valued and pursued for future generations.”
The schedule is: Fourth Avenue and Kent Street road work started on July 5. The fire department plans to move into their new location at the Fullerton Lumber Building site the middle of August, after which the old Fire Hall will be demolished, thereby opening up the entire block for the new Discovery Center.
The project is scheduled for completion by October 31, 2018. Beckmann voiced special thanks to Fire Chief Don Stark, Assistant Chief Paul Elfstrom and the 26 other firefighters, Library Director Kelly McBride and the library staff, Police Chief Ron Pedrys and the entire Village support staff for their patience and diligence while working in undersized and inadequate buildings these past years.
When looking toward the future Kravik said, “We are celebrating the start of construction of a Discovery Center that will be the soul of the Osceola area well into the future; it will touch and inspire our entire community … as well as surrounding communities.” He thanked the audience for their support for the project, and urged others to get on board. Fundraising continues at a strong pace, but “more is needed as we start the construction phase of this important project.”
Four years ago the Village of Osceola and Mill Pond Learning Foundation came together with a vision for a multi-purpose facility that would be a unique gathering place where people have access to information, technology, shared common spaces, and tools and equipment for 21st century needs. The Village Hall, complete with police department and municipal court, a new and larger public library, and a business hub and video conferencing center would all be combined in the new Discovery Center. An innovative Fab Lab was rolled into the plan, to function as a hands-on training facility for the technical skills sorely needed in today’s business environment.
Mill Pond Learning Foundation, is a public/private partnership with the Village of Osceola, Osceola Public Library and the community of Osceola. The vision is to promote, raise funds for and provide project leadership in the development and construction of a new facility to replace the current library.