Community invited to give input on plans for old
Holton school building
Wanda English Burnett
The mission of one woman is clear: to restore the old Holton school
building and make it into an emergency/disaster relief shelter
Phyllis Holman is the founder of the project that to some might
seem monumental. To her it is as simple as following what God
wants her to do.
I thought God was calling me to mission work in Mexico,
she told The Versailles Republican. However, that wasnt
His plans. She went on to say that she was plainly shown she was
to purchase the property at Holton and start a mission. Its
not mine, it belongs to God, she noted, naming the project
My Fathers House.
The totally by faith purchase was made last fall with
little work being able to be done over the winter months. This
spring she began an assessment and knows there is a lot to do.
I welcome community input, she noted, saying she hopes
people of the community will feel free to stop by, call or write
her with their ideas.
While in sad disrepair now, the spacious facility boasts a full
gymnasium, stage, space for tornado/disaster shelter, along with
several individual rooms, restrooms and shower areas.
However, Holman sees the big picture and in it the end results.
She says once refurbished, My Fathers House
will be available for retreats, conferences, supervised youth
activities and more. She has a vision of a coffee shop that will
be opened all night for truck drivers, local police and anyone
who may be out late and just needs to relax while passing through
the small town of Holton.
Holman says she knows the challenge is great and that it will
take a lot of work, material and volunteers to get it ready. She
also knows it probably wont be done over night, unless a
miracle of grand proportions takes place! But, she said she has
purchased this property, the building and four acres, and will
be renovating it totally by faith.
A big part of the project is having a shelter where people can
go in case of disasters, whether they are manmade or natural.
Holman has already contacted the Red Cross and is working with
the local chapter. Our mission is to provide food, shelter,
and other needs to anyone who has been affected by a natural or
manmade disaster, she said.
As a way of introducing herself to the community and to have those
interested in seeing whats going on, she has a goal of having
a family fun weekend early in August. The event will be held outdoors
with lots of fun for children and families. Anyone interested
in knowing more about this weekend is encouraged to contact Holman.
We would love for anyone who has special gifts or talents
they would like to share to contact me, she noted.
This weekend in August will be a grand opening of sorts to introduce
the project to the community and allow them to become part of
it, according to Holman. She said there have been a lot of rumors
and speculation about what is going on at the school and she wants
people to see for themselves. The weekend event is planned for
August 5 and 6.
Holman says she believes a community should know their neighbors.
This makes it easier when a disaster strikes, she
While Holman knows there are major hurdles to cross, such as a
new roof, heating and air conditioning unit and more, she also
believes God is bigger. The end results will reflect a non-denominational
project that is Gods building, according to Holman who was
once a Holton resident who moved away for a few years. She now
resides in Jennings County.
For those interested in seeing the project, becoming involved
and/or talking to Holman you can contact her at 7043 W. US Hwy
50, Holton, or call 1-812-767-1462.
ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTOS
Pictured above Phyllis Holman shows a room inside the
school she believes could be a coffee cafe someday. Below
the once beautiful gym floor is ruined by years of the roof
leaking. Holman has begun to take up the boards that were
bowed and destroyed by the constant moisture. The first
business to take care of is getting a new roof, and then
the real renovation of the old Holton School can begin to
take shape. Holman welcomes any input as to what could be
done with the building and anyone who is willing to help