Our History

Prior to its opening in September of 2020, many volunteers worked many years to make it a reality.  Here is an outline of what took place.

2004/2005 – The deaths of two school district students prompt conversations regarding destructive behaviors and the needs of the young people in our community.

2006 – Formation of the Holmen Area Partnership for Youth (H.A.P.Y) – a group of citizens committed to supporting the youth in our community.

-Developed Board of Directors including: Beth Balder-Schroeder; Bernie Ferry; Cheryl Hancock; Mark Huesmann; Laurie Kessler; Matt Nunemacher; Anne Paape; Dave Paudler; Nancy Solberg; Mark Tierney

-Collaborated with Viterbo University and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater LaCrosse to complete a needs assessment with results indicating that needing a place for teens to go during after school and evening hours was the main priority. Needs assessment participants included students, school staff, community members and area businesses.

-explored many buildings/locations within the Village limits for space to provide services to area youth.

Summer 2007 – Holmen Lutheran Church offered their church basement two nights a week to provide part-time youth services; HAPY members consider proposals from two local youth agencies to deliver these services; HAPY board offers the contract to the Boys and Girls Club.

October 2007 – signed operating agreement with the Boys and Girls Club for part time satellite youth center, naming Ewell Bryant as the first site director, Ben Mahlke served as site director from 2009-2011.  The Holmen Area Foundation acts as a pass-through agency for funds raised by HAPY. An operating budget of $35,000 per year was established.

2007 – 2011 – continued fundraisers including the Got Talent Coulee Region Talent Show; made presentations to numerous community organizations; successfully raised dollars to meet the operating budget needs.

Fall, 2011 – Boys and Girls Club reports that student attendance at the part time site have outgrown the space (over 100 students attending each day) and is no longer safe to continue services.  Exploration for other potential sites continues.

Spring 2012 – Laurie Kessler presents at the Holmen Area Foundation breakfast asking for help to continue the efforts to find a place for kids to go during those critical after school and evening hours.  Dan McHugh, Mary Lin Wershofen, Bob Stupi come on board to support the effort and conversations continued expanding the concept of not only bringing a youth center, but rather an intergenerational center that serves all ages to the community of Holmen. Holmen Area Community Center (HACC) replaces H.A.P.Y as the project title.

2012-2013 – Worked with the School District of Holmen and HRS Associates to develop a plan that includes a 22,000 square foot addition to the existing high school. Presentations inviting partnerships were made to Gundersen Lutheran, Mayo Health System, the Village of Holmen, Town of Onalaska and Town of Holland.  Viterbo faculty members, Rick Kyte and Tom Thibodeau, facilitated these conversations to promote a common goal and positive outcome. It was determined that this proposal would be added to the spring 2014 referendum in both the Town of Holland and the Town of Onalaska.  The Village of Holmen did not choose to go to referendum but could bond for the project.

Spring 2014 – The referendum was successful in the Town of Holland, but failed in the Town of Onalaska.  The Village of Holmen voted against supporting the project due to the failed Town of Onalaska referendum. Larry Dittman joins the project as a development consultant

December 2014 – The Town of Holland endorses the community center project proposing the use of funds from the CapX2020 transmission line project to purchase almost five acres from the Diocese of LaCrosse for $360,000. Dan McHugh pledged to donate a 1.2-acre parcel adjacent to this land on McHugh Road. A new project site was in place.

Spring 2015 – Identity Works offers to create a new logo, tagline and website for the HACC as a pro bono commitment and the renewed capital campaign to bring a 4.4-million-dollar facility was announced at the April 2015 Holmen Area Foundation breakfast. Initial pledges for the project included $500,000 from the Village of Holmen, $150,000 from the LaCrosse County Board and $100,000 from Kwik Trip.  Gundersen Health System also pledges support. Mary Beth Collins was retained as legal counsel and Hancock and Robinson was retained for formal accounting responsibilities.  By-laws were created and board members included: Len Beranek, Cheryl Hancock, Laurie Kessler, Dan McHugh, Beth Balder-Schroeder, Bob Stupi and Mary Lin Wershofen

2016 – Holmen Area Community Center gains non-profit status and HSR creates a new 22,000 square ft. floor plan for the McHugh Road site. Twenty-eight area agencies were invited to attend conversations regarding future partnerships. Many of those agencies worked to develop Memos of Understanding with the HACC including: The Town of Holland, Village of Holmen, WAFER, Holmen Police Department, Riverfront, Family and Children’s Center, Gundersen Health System, Mayo Clinic, YWCA, LaCrosse County.  HACC worked with the UW-LaCrosse Small Business Center to develop a business plan.  Fund raising continues and funds are transferred from the Holmen Area Foundation to our own account at Altra. Connie Romanowski joins the project as an accounting consultant.

Fall, 2016 – HACC is approached by large non-profit as a strong potential partner (it would focus on youth services and handle operations with little fund raising needed from HACC) and fund raising is suspended during this time as conversations continue as per directives from the that organization.

April 24, 2017 – HACC is called to the non-profit for a meeting where we are informed that they are no longer interested in the partnership that was presented the previous fall.  Fund raising time has been lost and a renewed campaign is required.

Fall, 2017 – HACC moves forward with planning and works with HSR to redesign the original floor plan to address a lower campaign goal just under 3 million dollars.

January, 2018 – Olympic Builders is chosen officially as the general contractor. Justin Yahnke will represent Olympic in future meetings with HSR. Town of Holland finalizes purchase of land on McHugh Road from the Diocese of LaCrosse.

May, 2018 – Connie Romanowski joins the board in an official capacity.

September, 2018 – Construction postponed to spring as fund raising goal has not been met. Jackie Jensen-Utz joins the project as a development consultant.

January, 2019 – Peter Hughes agrees to lead strategic planning meetings involving community members to address public perceptions. Additional community members are invited to join the campaign in an effort to re-energize fund raising efforts.  Kelly Dunn, Michael and Vicky Hartigan, Deak Swanson, Stacy and Mark Erickson, Jen and Marty Koop, Lois and Matt Ottenberg, Kristina Smaby-Schoh and others are invited to lead this renewed campaign.

Spring 2019 – HACC board members visit the old Festival Food site as the price has been lowered due to prolonged vacancy. Dave Skogen and Chuck Olson are present – conversations continue regarding this possibility.

June 26, 2019 – Dave and Barb Skogen meet with members of the HACC board to offer the donation of the Festival Foods site to the Boys and Girls Club along with a five-million-dollar donation to renovate the site.  A 3.5-million-dollar campaign goal was set to complete the project.

September, 2019 – The HACC Board reaches an agreement with the Boys and Girls Club to work together on a capital campaign and to occupy space in the renovated facility.  Kelly Dunn and Deak Swanson join the Board.

November 2, 2019 – Strategic committees were put in place and a Kick-Off event was held at Holmen High School with almost 2 million dollars raised.

June, 2020 – New board members are welcomed to the HACC board: Jennifer Luedtke, Jeff Ascher and Betsy Midthun

August 1, 2020 – HACC hires its first Executive Director, Jacob Hart

September 1, 2020 – HACC officially opens with programming offered virtually, due the pandemic

November, 2020 – Len Beranek and Dan McHugh leave the board – new members are welcomed in Tracy Taylor-Johnson and Jessica Himmer

December 9, 2020 – 3.5-million-dollar campaign goal reached!

January 6, 2021 – First official annual meeting of the HACC held virtually

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