In 2005 Brothers Dan & spark Meister purchased the old Farmington High School in Farmington, IL. They spent much of 2006 renovating the 75,000 square foot building with the dream of one day being able to host the Apostolic Senior High Boys camp at this location. Both brothers have been very involved in the Apostolic boys camps since 1994 and were excited at all the possibilities this building had to offer. They set about building air conditioned bunk rooms for the campers, shower facilities, suites with private bathrooms for the counselors, a dining hall, professional kitchen, gymnasium, and auditorium.
In 2007 their dream of hosting the Apostolic Senior High Boys Camp became a reality and in 2008 Apostolic Senior High Girls Camp followed! Despite the cost of the renovations both Dan and Spark were determined to offer a reduced rate (compared to what the camps were paying at their previous locations) in order to insure that every camper could afford to attend camp.
In 2012 it was decided that Dan would take over the full time management and financial obligations of the Old School Center and he continued improving the facility. The facility was being used for not only the Apostolic Camps but also Family Reunions, Church Retreats, Community Events, and Praise & Worship Singings. These buildings were being used to glorify God.
In the early hours of May 15th, the school was broken into and a fire was started in the main structure of the center and between the fire & water damage most of the facility was destroyed.
Unfortunately because of the age and sheer size of this all brick facility Brother Dan was unable to afford to carry insurance on the buildings, other than liability. This has been a devastating financial loss for Brother Dan and Sister Susan’s family as they were counting on the rental income from the facility to pay for the costly renovations they had completed on the buildings.
Then on May 29th, while going through the burnt part of the structure, Brother Dan was sickened to discover human remains on the 3rd floor under some of the rubble. Because of this horrific discovery, Brother Dan has no plans to rebuild the retreat center and is planning on moving forward with the demolition of the main structure once it is released by the authorities.
At this time, all demo work is on hold until the investigation is completed. However there is, and will continue to be a need over the next several months.
First, we are asking for prayer for the family of the young man who died there. We know almost nothing about him or why he was in the school during the early morning hours of May 15th.
Also as soon as we are able to begin work on the demolition of the buildings we will be scheduling workdays. These dates will be passed along through World Relief as soon as we know them. If you have Facebook and would like to be kept up to date on work days you can join the Old School Center Volunteer Page. We will be posting work days on that as well.
And lastly, if you feel led to make a donation to the financial need you can write your check to World Relief with “old school” in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Mike Rieker 5200 N Knoxville Ave. # 3055 Peoria, IL 61614. All donations will be used to help meet the financial obligations the school had accumulated during it’s renovations and toward demolition.
(the above post was taken from the Old School Center Volunteer page)