The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022

Marsh Foundation cuts ribbon on facility

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

The newest addition to the Marsh Foundation campus was officially unveiled to the public on Saturday.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for Marsh’s new fitness and dining facility and it was followed by an open house to showcase the impressive 15,000 square foot addition, which is seamlessly attached to the administration building.

Marsh Foundation Director of Education Robbie Breese cuts the ribbon on Marsh’s 15,000 square foot dining and fitness facility. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

“The purpose of the building was to increase the amount of services that we provide for our kids including fitness and more flexible learning spaces,” Marsh Foundation Director of Education Robbie Breese said. “Our old cafeteria was down in the basement, not a real nice wide open place for the students to eat and it wasn’t handicap accessible, so we wanted to make this building handicap accessible.”

“We have a cafeteria, a gymnasium and locker rooms in the new part and then our maintenance staff was able to renovate the old cafeteria into a fitness center with weights and treadmills,” Breese added. “This is the first year that we are providing physical education to our students and it’s been great. Our clinical department is also using the fitness facilities as part of treatment for our youth and that’s been a really good addition.”

“We want to give our students similar opportunities to other kids their age and we’re able to better do that today because of this facility.”

Breese said the Marsh Foundation typically has between 25 and 30 children in grades 2-12 living on campus along with up to a handful of day students.

Ground was broken in May of 2019 and by and large, work was completed on schedule. The new facility was put into use last summer but because of COVID-19, the open house was delayed for over a year.

Executive Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Grothouse noted the facility had been a long-term goal of the Marsh Foundation.

The new Marsh cafeteria features plenty of room plus four big screen TVs combined to show one big picture. Scott Truxell photo

“We had been looking to do this for 10-12 years and to finally get to this point is pretty exciting,” Grothouse stated. “We’re so proud of it and it’s so functional for our kids – they love it and it’s phenomenal for them. The gym gets used all day long for gym classes and the kids are over here every night in the weight room or the gym, so it’s kind of a dream come true.”

Marsh Foundation Executive Director Kim Mullins echoed Grothouse’s thoughts and said the new facility is everything imagined and more.

“It’s inspirational to the kids,” Mullins said. “They’re more willing to learn things when there’s fun involved and activity involved. A lot of them have been traumatized and they’re not open to talking about feelings. They don’t really want to make themselves vulnerable so when they’re doing something fun or something active it really does bring out their ability to share.”

Along with the open house at the new facility, Clymer Hall and the Marsh Homestead were open to the public and a celebration of life was held in the auditorium at the administration building for long time director Ron Bagley, who passed away last December.

“He was an amazing person,” Mullins said. “I’ve been here for 26 years and the reunions that we have, people are always looking for him. He meant a lot to a lot of kids here because he really got involved with them and he followed them or they followed him. He was a smart, charismatic and kind person.”

POSTED: 10/18/21 at 4:00 am. FILED UNDER: News