Yocum Institute breaks ground on vacant building in West Lawn

For years the building at 3000 Penn Avenue in West Lawn has been vacant just waiting for the right owner. Now it will take on new life as the Yocum Institute for Arts Education announced plans to renovate the structure.

Yocum board members and the community gathered at the construction site for the official groundbreaking ceremony which included brief statements from the project committee and several blueprints and concept art designs of the purposed renovations. Designs included several class rooms, theater and artist studios.

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Community members look over blueprints of the purposed renovations.

William Wellock, project committee chair, shared his research into the buildings history during the ceremony. Built in the 1930’s, the building itself has seen its fair share of businesses come and go. Beginning as a knitting mill it later transformed into several other manufacturing and sales businesses including mattresses, cars, a martial arts studio and more recently a storage facility for fire equipment.

“So now its our turn to transform this building, when the building renovations are completed it will truly be state of the art, we are really excited about what this building will do for the community” said William Wellock.

Groups toured the construction site after the ground breaking ceremony.

Concluding the ceremony Nick Bently ended with a quote from Walt Witman’s ‘There was a child went forth every day’ urging those in the audience to continue there support of Yocum for future generations.

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“For our children the Yocum Institute is that object, it is an object of beauty and light, and our hope that is our children will carry the image of that object with them for the rest of there lives.”

After the ceremony groups toured the building and construction site. Construction will be completed by Berkey Construction. The building committee includes William Wellock, Chris Luppold, Rick Stoudt, Jenny Parkradooni and Susan Rohn.

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Jason Hugg
Jason Hugg
Editor and photographer of Reading Magazine.
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