MCEF finds new home

After being displaced by a fire earlier this year, the McMinn County Education Foundation (MCEF), along with McMinn County Adult Education and Let’s Read 20 of McMinn County, moved into their new location at 202 Hicks Street in Athens. Simmons Bank donated furniture for all three programs.

The McMinn County Education Foundation has moved into a new building since the destruction of their previous location last February.

According to MCEF Executive Director Julia Reedy, the new building is located at the Athens Industrial Complex on Hicks Street and is shared with the McMinn County Adult Education and Let’s Read 20 programs.

“I hope this building will be a permanent location,” Reedy said. “We have a bit more space than we did before. Before was actually the Athens Housing Authority’s main building and we paid rent to use part of the building but we have a lot more space in this new building.”

One of the newest additions is an office for the director of the foundation.

“We also have a storage room and an area for small meetings,” she noted. “The Let’s Read 20 program has space to store their books and process them. Things are just really good.”

She believes the additional space makes the new location more useful than the previous one.

“When our building burned in February we lost just about everything that we had and we didn’t know what we were going to do,” she expressed. “The director of Let’s Read 20 and I looked at every empty space in Athens and other places and just couldn’t find anything that worked.”

She noted that they learned McMinn County Adult Education was also having issues while they were searching for a new building.

“I contacted them and told them that I would try to find a space that would suit all of our needs since we worked together before and worked well together,” she noted. “I have had several meetings at the new place already and having storage space separate from the office is fantastic. This is really nice.”

The new location resides within one of the older buildings in the town and through various community partners, the foundation has managed to restore and furnish the new location.

“We have great community partners who have come together to help us out a lot,” she expressed. “It is great.”

Reedy hopes to be able to continue to grow the foundation’s programming in the new building.

“This is my 10th year here and since then we have added quite a few programs,” she said. “I hope to continue to see those programs grow and introduce new ones as we progress.”

Reedy appreciates the partnerships she has with Let’s Read 20 and the McMinn County Adult Education.

“If people have any books they would like to drop off for the Let’s Read 20 program there will be a box outside of the new building,” Reedy said. “You can also bring them into the building so long as we are there. Adult education will always be there, but Let’s Read 20 and I are part time and will not always be there.”

Email shane.duncan@

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