Community group works to move into old Army National Guard armory
Leaders of the Escape Zone have announced plans to move and expand their growing outreach.
For almost 16 years, the Escape Zone has given local youth academic assistance and a safe place to hang out on Friday nights.
Escape Zone is a community program that has become a popular ministry for many MVNU students over the years.
Escape Zone operates at 316 South Main St., but a move to the Army National Guard armory on Mansfield Avenue in Mount Vernon is in the works.
A renovation of the armory — built in 1931 — is underway, but is expected to be a long process.
Volunteers from WNZR and Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene helped with a cleanup day earlier this month, but the building still needs major plumbing and electrical repairs.
“There’s still a lot of work to do,” said Coordinator of Staff Karen Bush. “The building hasn’t been used in years.”
The new building will provide more space for academic assistance and recreational activities. The plans include multiple game rooms, study rooms, a snack bar, a kitchen and a multipurpose gym.
“We have never had an opportunity to minister like this,” Bush said. “There is a gym on the second floor, and that alone is something we have never had.”
Residents of Knox County have inquired about renting space in the armory when it’s not occupied by Escape Zone. Bush said this may be a possibility in the future.
The blueprints for the facility include space for a banquet hall that also can be rented out once the Escape Zone is open.
“God has really blessed us with this special place, and we are excited about the possibilities of this new location,” Bush said.
Those interested in helping with the move and renovations are welcome at the armory on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.