A PLACE TO
LEARN . PLAY . CREATE
The St. Ansgar Historic School Project Inc. is dedicated to the restoration and repurposing of
"South Square" the 1928 former school building in St. Ansgar IA. With a focus on saving this historic icon, South Square is committed to bringing people together and improving the quality of life in our small rural community.
SOUTH SQUARE IS:
A PLACE TO GATHER...
South Square is a 32,000 square foot brick building located just off the main thoroughfare of St. Ansgar, Iowa. It is made up of 17 former classrooms, a commercial kitchen, and a full-size gymnasium and stage. The former classrooms offer short-term and long-term rental solutions for individuals and groups, and the gymnasium provides large-scale event space.
AN OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE...
South Square is more than just an empty building, it's an incubator for creativity. South Square houses and maintains the Creative Arts Gallery, which is a place for community members to share their artistic talents. South Square also sponsors art classes in its working art studio, and is proud to be a home for the Cedar Summerstock Theater.
A PART OF THE COMMUNITY...
South Square played a part in the lives of the thousands of students who passed through its hallways for almost a century while it operated as a school. South Square keeps those memories alive while it takes on a new role in the community of St. Ansgar.
WE'RE OLD SCHOOL
The doors of the St. Ansgar School at 202 South Washington Street opened for the first time in 1928. For nearly 40 years the building served as the sole school for the community of St. Ansgar. As the school district grew, so too did the need for space. The St. Ansgar Community School District built a separate high school building in the 1960s and the Oren Thomas-designed building on Washington Street became the elementary school for decades of St. Ansgar residents.
In 2016, the St. Ansgar School District opened a new elementary school wing at the middle/high school complex, leaving the fate of the former building in the air. The St. Ansgar Historic School Project (HSP) was founded to retain ownership of the building and took possession on April 1, 2017. This 501(c)3 nonprofit reopened the building as South Square.
Why South Square?
The original land plat of St. Ansgar, Iowa included two blocks - or squares - devoted to community space: North Square and South Square. North Square has been home to Clausen Park for decades and is a integral part of life for many St. Ansgar residents.
And what about South Square? It's the land on which the former elementary school sits today. We chose to christen the building South Square to pay homage to the idea that St. Ansgar's founders meant for this land to be a special, community-focused space.
Today, South Square is an all-volunteer run hub for community entertainment, engagement, and learning. It is governed by a non-profit board of directors that operates the building through rental fees, foundation grants, and support from generous community donors.
"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together"
Vincent van Gogh
CONTACT SOUTH SQUARE
Get in touch with us to learn more about our work and how you can get involved.