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October 05, 2010 04:56 PM

New Plans For Stewart Building

Sioux Falls, SD

By this time next year, the former Stewart's School of Hairstyling will have a whole new look and serve a new purpose.

It's one of the oldest and most recognizable buildings in downtown Sioux Falls. The Stewart Building now has a new owner, and the new tenant hopes to offer their customers something very few other businesses can: hope. 

The building on the corner of 2nd Avenue and 11th Street will soon be home to the Sioux Falls Ministry Center.

"The ultimate goal is the facility here will allow people to experience peace: spiritually, emotionally, financially and physically," Interim Director of the Sioux Falls Ministry Center Rich Merkouris said.

The non-profit, Sioux Falls Ministry Center will include several different outreach agencies, along with a day care. One of the first ministries scheduled to move in is the Center of Hope.

"We think this location will be just ideal," Merkouris said.

Fred Wilgenburg is the pastor at Center of Hope, which is currently located on North Cliff Avenue.

"We just know this will be more accessible and easier for people to find us and come into, especially when we share this facility with a number of other ministries," Wilgenburg said.

An anonymous donor helped get the project rolling, but a lot has to be done before the work can begin.

"A generous gift was really the seed money, more than a generous gift.  Now we need to seek to raise $1 million to renovate the facility," Merkouris said.

And turn this 36,000 square-foot downtown landmark into a haven of hope for those who may be down on their luck.

"So rather than send them 30 blocks down the road with a pamphlet we can literally walk them down the hall 30 feet and welcome them with a warm handshake and another ministry," Wilgenburg said.

Construction is set to begin in December.  The Center of Hope will move in in February of 2011 with the day care opening later in the summer.

If you would like more information about the organization or their plans, contact Rich Merkouris.  

Rich Merkouris
Director of Family Ministries
Hope Lutheran Church
Office: (605) 332-2531
Cell: (605) 261-2587

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