This is a day we’ve been looking forward to for a very long time,” Pam Hanus, superintendent of the Iowa Juvenile Home - State Training School for Girls in Toledo said in unveiling some $22 million in improvements during an open house last Wednesday.
Hanus expressed appreciation for local support “we’ve enjoyed through the years.” She also recognized the backing of state leadership both in the Department of Human Services, Iowa Legislature and from staff members here.
Kim Junge, one of the IJH nurses, noted the next admission to IJH - Training School for Girls will be number 10,136 since the facility opened in Toledo in 1920.
Students joined in explaining the “Circle of Courage” upon which much of the treatment and emphasis at IJH is based upon. “Generosity, Belonging, Courage and Independence and Mastery” are the tenants of the program, students explained.
Hanus said the primary focus of the facility remains to provide education for young people.
Many area residents, along with local and state officials joined in touring the campus. They were given student-led walking tours which went inside the expanded library, refurbished classrooms in the 1951 school and new classrooms in the wing completed recently.
The tours also included stops inside a cottage which houses students and through the medical area in the new school addition.
In addition, a display of the history of the campus was unveiled. An area has now been set aside to house memorabilia beginning with the founding of Western College in 1881 on the site. The college named changed to Leander Clark College in 1906 in recognition of a benefactor. It was merged with Coe College in 1918 and consolidated in Cedar Rapids.
Hanus said the founding of the college was likely “the first economic development effort in Toledo” with the city supporting Western College with $20,000 in funding and free land upon which to build.
Hanus said the extent of the improvements since 2008 have included renovation of the 1951 school, razing of two cottages, the infirmary, chapel and power house, construction of a new maintenance building and installation of a geo-thermal heating and cooling system.
Also, the school addition which houses the medical and security areas as well as classroom space, new windows campus-wide, roof replacement, renovations of the circle drive which parallels South Church Street and new hot water and sewer lines.
The staff members making up the open house committee included Karen Connell, Joyce Novak, Ilona Avery and Kim Junge. Hanus also recognized Patty Barker, the lone custodian for the facility, for her continued work during and after construction.
The Iowa Juvenile Home - Training School for Girls employs 114 staff members and provides for children adjudged in need of assistance and delinquent girls.
Iowa Juvenile Home - Training School for Girls Superintendent Deb Hanus (right), Rich Schults, division administrator for Mental Health and Disabilities Services and Kaalyn Kuhns, Mental Health and Disabilities staff member, are shown with a portion of the art on the floor in the school area. Penny Graff, a member of the school support staff is at the desk in background.
Chronicle photos/John Speer