Historic Odell constructing’s renovation into Rice Lodge successful st…

ODELL — The place some noticed a constructing destined for demolition, a gaggle of residents in southern Gage County noticed potential in an Odell constructing and launched plans to show a former hospital into what would grow to be the Rice Lodge and Convention Heart.

It has now been 10 years for the reason that constructing was put into service providing lodging in Odell, however the constructing’s historical past dates again a lot additional.

Gwen Vitosh, certainly one of a handful of people that labored to get the mission off the bottom and who stays lively with the constructing, mentioned it opened as a hospital in 1929 operated by Dr. Clarence Rice.

“It ran as a hospital till the early Nineteen Sixties. We haven’t pinpointed a date but,” she mentioned. “By then, he had misplaced a variety of his fingers due to X-ray tools. They didn’t take precautions like going out of the room, and the top nurse was doing most every thing, anyway.”

After the hospital closed, the constructing was transformed to be used as residences earlier than being deserted someday within the late Nineteen Nineties.

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Finally, 4 {couples} obtained collectively and determined to search out new life for the getting older construction.

“We decided there have been three issues we might do,” Vitosh mentioned. “Let it sit because it was, knock it down or do one thing with it. We began brainstorming and visited the Wilber lodge and visited the Convent Home in Steinauer. We kicked round a bunch of concepts and at last got here up with the concept of a lodge.”

Rice Lodge kitchen

The Odell Rice Lodge and Convention Heart encompasses a kitchen space. The lodge Contains a continental breakfast for occupants. 


As soon as a plan was shaped, the group needed to increase the cash to renovate the constructing. Many space residents pledged time and money to place towards the mission, although receiving grants from the Gage County Conference and Guests Bureau and Nebraska Division of Financial Improvement had been milestone achievements.

“Between these two, we utilized for like $100,000,” Vitosh mentioned. “If we obtained the grant, we had been a go, if not, we had been sunk. We had folks pledge {dollars}, and if it was a go we’d go to them to donate. We obtained $88,000 in grants, so it was a go. That was large, and we determined to maneuver ahead. In 2010 volunteers got here from in all places. “

The 2 buildings concerned had been fully overhauled and have a capability to sleep 26 folks. Rooms are named after donating households and include household artifacts. Even the paint schemes within the rooms had been chosen by the household the rooms are named after.

The Village of Odell owns the property, although Vitosh mentioned the lodge is totally self-sustaining and the village has not contributed financially to the mission.

Rice Lodge

The Rice Lodge and Convention Heart obtained its begin as a hospital in 1929.


This August will mark 10 years for the reason that lodge opened.

“I nonetheless bear in mind the primary ones, it was for a marriage on the town,” she recalled. “All people stayed right here. That was priceless. Then three years later we began on the opposite constructing and opened that one in Might 2015.”

Final 12 months, 590 folks stayed on the Rice Lodge and Convention Heart, bouncing again from a pandemic 12 months when occupancy was down.

Vitosh mentioned a lot of those that keep are return prospects who benefit from the appeal the Rice Lodge can provide.

“Lots of people simply hold coming again,” she mentioned. “If somebody asks how we obtained from step A to step Z, I can’t even give them a solution. I used to be there each step of the way in which, however why did we expect to do that or that? How did we get so far? It’s a blur.”

Gathering area

Along with bedrooms and kitchen areas, the Rice Lodge and Convention Heart options gathering areas for occupants. 


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