ELHI opens their doors to an old, new building

ELHI Association Chairman, Raymond Dunton cuts the ribbon, officially opening the ELHI Community Center on Friday, Oct. 30. Standing alongside Southern Ute Tribal Council, SCSYAC and Southern Ute Royalty members, as well as Ignacio Town Board members and ELHI board members. The ribbon cutting ceremony was followed by an open house. The new ELHI building was once the Ignacio Elementary building, and recently the Ignacio High School.
Raymond Dunton introduces Southern Ute Brave, Dewayne Hendren (standing). He is flanked by Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council Chairman, Issiac Hendren (left), and Southern Ute Tribal Chairman, Clement Frost.
Cyrus Cosio pulls his hand back as he makes his way down the creepy line of spooky and creepy containers.
Kids enjoy the ELHI open-house activities in the Studio 28 – La Plata County Independent Youth Performing Arts room.
The Pine River Shares fed about 400 people during the ELHI open house. Pine River Shares currently is based out of Bayfield, but hope to move into the new ELHI building soon.
Theresa Chee and family members take a break from the open-house action.
Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum
Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum
Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum
Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum
Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum
Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum

Refurbish, reuse, renew, repurpose … either way you say it, it’s always a good thing when we use something that otherwise could have been thrown out, discarded or demolished after it’s initial purpose is fulfilled.

Sometime we save wrapping paper, boxes, tins, plastic jugs, but how often do we repurpose a building?

The Education, Literacy, Health and Inspiration (ELHI) Association did just that. They repurposed the former Ignacio Elementary School.

The building once served it’s purpose as a learning establishment for the Ignacio children, Kindergarten through 5th grade, from the 1948 until February 2014.

The Ignacio School district built two new schools in that time, that now serve as the Ignacio Middle School and the Ignacio Elementary School on Candelaria Heights.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house was held to commemorate the newly purposed building on Friday, Oct. 30.

ELHI Board members were in attendance to cut the ribbon, as well as Southern Ute Tribal Chairman Clement J. Frost and Southern Ute Brave, Dewayne Hendren and Sunshine Cloud Smith Youth Advisory Council Chairman Issac Suina.

Chairman Frost offered a prayer for the ELHI building and it’s tenants.

An open-house ensued after the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and stamp cards were handed out at the door for patrons to receive a stamp from the various organizations within the ELHI building, which were then placed in a box and drawn for the various prizes being offered after the community meal and costume contest.

ELHI Board Chairman Raymond Dunton, who cut the ribbon and assumed emcee duties, said, “ELHI wants to work with people who are passionate about what they are doing.”

“We brainstormed with the organizations here, about occupying space and operating in the building,” Dunton said. “It began to grow, it became organic, and let the pieces fall as they may in order for growth to take place in a very natural way.”

The meal was sponsored by Pine River Shares (PRS), “who create healthy, thriving communities in the Pine River Valley by providing strategic connection and support to parents and caregivers.”

A Pine River Shares organizer, who wished to remain anonymous, said that PRS are thrilled to have fed about 400 people, and hope to do it again.

PRS offers a multitude of services up and down the Pine River Valley, within the river-shed or “people-shed,” there are about 13,500 people in 725 square miles.

“When we share, nobody goes without,” the PRS organizer said. PRS has monthly dinners, a free clothing closet, a food pantry, and a back-pack project and offers medical and family equipment in Bayfield but soon hopes to set up shop in Ignacio in the very-near future.

You can contact Pine River Shares at 970-884-4747 and/or follow them on Facebook and twitter for upcoming events and updates.

The ELHI building still serves as a place of learning, incorporating health and inspiration. The building that once housed, classes in art, reading, writing, arithmetic and science, now house The Dancing Spirit Community Arts Center, Hope Community Christian Academy, the Ignacio Community Church, Studio 28 – La Plata County Independent Youth Performing Arts, Silver SPRUCE Academy and the Southern Ute Community Action programs (SUCAP) Youth Services.

Dancing Spirit: Hosting classes in community media, and performing arts, year-round group and personal classes, and on-going pottery workshops, as well as a community arts gallery.

Studio 28: Offers fun educational competitive and non-competitive arts related activities, for youth ages 4 through 21, including ‘Winterguard.’

Silver SPRUCE Academy: Offers educational programs and courses for students and families in the Four Corners, collaborating with other educational organizations.

The ELHI building is occupied by two church organizations, The Hope Community Christian Academy and the Ignacio Community Church.

The Hope Community Christian Academy: Is a non-denominational National Association of University-Model Schools (NAUMS) offering education from Kindergarten through 6th grade.

The Ignacio Community Church: Is an uplifting non-denominational hosting worship services, community events, volunteer projects and Sunday school serving breakfast.

SUCAP Youth Services: Offering Middle and High School youth programs including ‘Club Venture’, an adventure education adaptation of National Indian Youth Leadership Project venture and ‘Curiosity’ offering after-school enrichment.

SUCAP Youth Services in collaboration with Magic Brush sponsored the haunted house, during Halloween festivities.

The Ignacio Historical Society doesn’t officially have a room in the ELHI building but they do occupy space, displaying many photos depicting the history Ignacio.

Laura Whitt, vice-president said, “I’m in charge of gathering photos, we are always looking for photos of Ignacio’s history,” she said. “We are trying to put together a book.”

Whitt added, “the hardest part of receiving photos without names and dates is figuring out who is in the photo and gaining rights to publish it, without names and dates the time is consumed tracking this information down.”

If you have photos of Ignacio please contact Laura Whitt or Lovvis Downs-Glass at 970-563-9201.

ELHI’s mission is to unify the community and support personal wellbeing by providing wellbeing by providing safe, holistic opportunities that support education, skill building and resiliency. Their vision is to model collaboration and the unification process in a collectively supportive environment.

If you need a place to host a special event, meeting, classes or private gatherings –parties, etc., contact ELHI at 970-563-4100 or via email elhicenter@gmail.com.

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