As the new Concordia Lutheran School prepares to take shape, several men are offering their help - not by pounding nails, but by ripping them out.
Cliff Glasgow, Ron Dierenfield, Pete Pederson and Ron Grieme have volunteered over 100 hours in the last two weeks to prepare for a renovation project that will turn what now looks like a warehouse into a K-6 schoolhouse.
"We're hoping to work some miracles here," said Pederson.
Concordia Lutheran School has purchased the former Storm Lake Sports Center. The plan for the 22,000 square foot building calls for office and kitchen areas to be located at the front of the building, three classrooms down each side of the building, and a large open library space in the middle. There will also be rooms for music and computers. A gymnasium with a 44-by-84 foot court will be located in the rear of the former Sports Center.
The building is just about perfect for the school. The retired volunteers see it, too, as they clear out the old walls and shop area of the former business.
"We're excited to think about the end result," Pederson said.
For Dierenfield, he has to look no further than his own family for his willingness to volunteer.
"I have a granddaughter going to school here in the fall," he said. "I told Pete if he needed help, I'd want to help."
Glasgow has been involved in numerous community projects, from both the county historical society and the Hanover Historical Society to Habitat for Humanity.
"We're in this for the long haul," he said.
They've only worked for about two weeks, but have racked up well over 100 hours in the process. It will help keep costs down and work ahead of schedule for the contractor. Construction on the school will begin in a couple of months. It is scheduled to be completed before school begins next August.
"This is just donated labor that some of the fellas are willing to give," Pederson said. "The volunteer help gets this building ready to develop into a school. It's special and it's saving money instead of having the contractor do it."
They've also been salvaging supplies they can use in the school. But they've also been hauling away a lot of the debris.
It's a jovial atmosphere when the guys get together.
"Ron's been working after hours, hauling all of the debris out to his farm," Pederson said.
"I'm the junkman," Dierenfield joked.
And while they've got a few more years than the average construction worker - Pederson will turn 85 on Monday - it doesn't hamper their efforts on the job.
"We've been trying to figure out who's in charge here," Glasgow joked. "They guy with the most experience or the guy who is the oldest."
To help fund the project, Concordia Lutheran School has kicked off a "Treasure Our Children" building campaign to help fund the project.
Currently the school plans to add 5th and 6th grades for next year.
Concordia Lutheran School is a separate, not-for-profit organization sponsored by members of area Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregations.