Friday, 03 August 2018 05:06

It’s Official: “New Life” Coming to Rohanen Middle School

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County Manager Bryan Land, Attorney Bill Webb, and Rev. Gary Richardson complete property transfer County Manager Bryan Land, Attorney Bill Webb, and Rev. Gary Richardson complete property transfer Photo by Chuck Thames

ROCKINGHAM- Thursday marked a new beginning for a school building with a rich history in Richmond County.  Rohanen Middle School in East Rockingham was removed from service by the school board in 2017 and recently sold to Richmond County for $100 as surplus property.  Gary Richardson, pastor of New Life Church and director of Place of Grace Rescue Mission, saw this as a great opportunity to expand the services he has been providing.  In a property exchange deal Thursday, Richardson’s organization parted with their former location on Airport Road (across from Direct Pack) in exchange for the former Rohanen Middle School located less than two miles away.

Richardson and Richmond County Manager Bryan Land made it official at the 11 a.m. closing conducted by local attorney Bill Webb. 

When asked about the county’s plans for the airport road property, Land commented, “We don’t currently have plans for the 26 acre parcel.  However, its proximity to existing industries makes it appealing and a marketable piece of property for us.”

When asked about his future plans, Richardson commented, “We should make the move over to the new location in a few weeks following necessary upgrades.”  We will then have fundraisers and work on grants to get it ready to minister to our community.” Richardson noted that the homeless ministry will now be named Richmond County Rescue Mission and in addition to housing up to 20 men, will eventually include a separate wing to accommodate up to 20 women and children as well.  “We also plan to offer numerous classes to teach trades including welding, brick masonry, auto mechanics, and  culinary arts, as well as classes to assist folks in completion of their GED."

Richardson also intends to have a food pantry, outreach ministry, soup kitchen, church discipleship and recovery programs.  Richardson further hopes to include addiction treatment if possible, in the future. 

Following the closing, Land noted “I feel it’s a great opportunity for the church to utilize an otherwise vacant building to assist the homeless.  I’m glad we were able to make the deal come to fruition. I truly applaud the church and its members for their efforts to make it a reality.”

Richardson and a group of event organizers are currently planning a large fund raiser for November and are beginning to prepare grant applications to solicit funding for needed upgrades as well as ongoing operational expenses. 


Last modified on Friday, 03 August 2018 14:04