Though news of the grand opening of Valley Evangelical Free Church’s $6 million Valley Community Center falls under the “faith” header of this month’s magazine, it is a story worthy of anyone interested in business, recreation, sports, education, music and the good of the community based on the church’s intentions to create a first-rate public facility to be utilized by the entire community, not just its members.
“It was a conscious decision to call it a ‘Community Center’ because our goal is to have at least 50 percent of it used by the public. Our church has been treated very well by the community and we’ve had a heart to give something back to the community,” says Michael Klenk, director of the center.
Earlier this month, Valley Church opened the doors to its new community center located at 4444 Fuller Road, across the street from its house of worship and offices. The 29,000-square-foot facility located on a 37-acre campus features a large Mapenol Cafe and multi-purpose events hall and is open during summer business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cafe comfortably seats 150 people and currently is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Its events hall features two basketball courts and can be quickly converted into a carpeted venue that seats about 1,250 people for banquets, graduations and business gatherings. Advanced acoustical engineering lends the facility to music and speaking events, too.
It also includes a free children’s play area that is open daily for families to enjoy “a safe, clean and wholesome environment,” as well as a kitchen, meeting and outdoor sports areas. Behind the center, sits the Mapenol Barn that was relocated from Valley High School near food gardens.
The church has partnered with several community and nonprofit groups including Adaptive Sports League, Boy Scouts, Courage League Sports, Habitat for Humanity, Hope Ministries, Link Associates, Lutheran Services of Iowa, Meals for the Heartland and Teen Challenge who plan to use the center.
“The four areas we targeted were service, relationships, compassion and health and wellness. The main thing is we want it to better the community and improve the quality of life for people,” Klenk says. “It’s about doing good for the community, with the community.”Valley Evangelical Free Church
4343 Fuller Road • 226-9973
Saturday 5:30 p.m.
Sunday 8:15, 9:30 and 11 a.m.