Gov. Terry Branstad (right) enjoys a Templeton Rye drink as he speaks with Templeton Mayor Ken Behrens at a celebration for the opening of the Templeton Community Center.
Gov. Terry Branstad

(right) enjoys a Templeton

Rye drink as he speaks with Templeton Mayor Ken Behrens at a celebration for the opening of the Templeton Community Center.
August 18, 2014


The Templeton Community Center, a former Catholic school refashioned through a public-private effort into an events center with potential for regional draw, opened Saturday night with a grand celebration headlined by Gov. Terry Branstad and attended by more than 300 people.

The center already has 20 bookings for events before the end of 2014, said Joe Behrens, a member of the center's planning committee.

The grand-hall banquet area of the Templeton Community Center - six former classrooms - holds 420 people. A smaller community room lists an occupancy of 120, and the gymnasium can accommodate 300 people. With a southwest wraparound patio and other features, more than 900 people can attend an event at the $1.7 million center - which is owned and operated by the city.

"It's hard for me to talk about because we're so proud," said Behrens, who is also a member of the center's permanent board of seven people appointed by the Templeton City Council.

Community leaders held their first meeting on the possible remodeling of the center in February 2011. The Sacred Heart School had been closed since 2003 when the Sioux City Diocese mandated that the Templeton school - which would be celebrating its 50 anniversary this year - and others in the region consolidate into Kuemper Catholic School System in Carroll.

"We didn't want to be one of those communities that had a big old building that rotted into the ground," Behrens said.

The building is 95 percent complete with only a few minor details outstanding. and equipment to be installed. Exterior concrete work, including the patio, parking lot, sidewalks, and streetscape lighting should be completed by the end of September, Behrens said.

The community plans an open house later this fall. The community center officially raised $1,554,000 of the estimated $1.7 million project.

"The city is financing the gap but fundraising is ongoing," Behrens said. "We will also accept memorials and other donations in the future, and those contributions will be recognized in the Heritage Hall area."

The city expects to be able to cash-flow the center with revenue from events after some initial years of subsidizing the facility.

Templeton Rye Spirits donated $250,000 to the project, and the center in October earned a $200,000 grant through Vision Iowa, a state program that provides financial incentives to communities for the construction of recreational, cultural, educational or entertainment facilities that enhance the quality of life in Iowa.

"I look forward to coming back to see many events in this community," said Branstad, who made his second trip to Templeton within a year Saturday.

Last December, the governor labeled the one-millionth bottle of Templeton Rye to roll off the conveyor belt at TR Spirits. He also recalled eating lunch with schoolchildren in Sacred Heart nearly 20 years ago.

"I don't think there's any place that's more special than what you have in Templeton," Branstad said.

Branstad said the banquet hall will be a major economic-development lift for Carroll County.

"I think a lot of people are going to want to come here for wedding receptions and reunions and all kinds of things in the future," Branstad said.

Gary Rupiper, capital campaign co-chairman for the center, recognized the significant local contributions that are listed on donor wall.

"You have every right to be so proud to be a member of the Templeton community," Rupiper said.