Strange twist of fate for former gentlemen’s club
Spearmint Rhino to be next home of Ozaukee Christian School
By Melanie Boyung
TOWN OF TRENTON — Ozaukee Christian School has announced it is moving into a new building, taking over a former gentlemen’s club in Trenton.
The building at 1204-1274 Highway 33 is being purchased from Spearmint Rhino, a Californiabased franchise of strip clubs and gentlemen’s clubs. For Ozaukee Christian School, the unusual building conversion is an answer to prayer that ends a years-long search for a space to call their own.
“God has given the leadership of OCS a big vision for growth while providing us what we need for each step of this project,” said Dave Swartz, OCS board president.
OCS is a nondenominational Christian school founded in 1990 that has had several homes over the years. The school started at Portview Christian Center in Port Washington, then moved to Friedens Church in Port, back to Portview and then to St. John XXIII in Saukville for the last 19 years.
“We have felt God leading us to a building of our own that will allow us to grow, to expand our ability to work with special needs children and to reach more families in Washington County, all the while maintaining strong ties with our families in Ozaukee County,” OCS Administrator Kris Austin said.
OCS is purchasing the strip mall that includes the former Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen’s Club with the intention of renovating the spaces into classrooms, offices, a cafeteria and a multipurpose room. Future additions planned include a gym with stage and locker rooms and a new classroom wing.
According to OCS information, they reached an agreement last week to purchase the property from Spearmint Rhino, and hope to occupy the building in time for the start of the 2019-20 school year. Austin said there is an opening chapel scheduled for the property Aug. 29.
OCS has raised $425,000 thus far toward a $2.2 million goal to cover both the purchase and renovations. A general contractor has been hired, and OCS is accepting volunteers to assist in the renovations. Austin said the purchase price negotiated with Spearmint Rhino is not being released; the sale has not yet been recorded with the Washington County Register of Deeds.
OCS leaders became aware of the property in January 2017, and after visiting the site, felt it could be a great fit. They reached out to Spearmint but were initially told they weren’t interested in selling. In July 2017, however, company officials changed their minds and offered to sell the building.
According to Austin, the price was beyond what the school was prepared to pay, but OCS began meeting with architects and contractors about potential designs and launched a fundraising drive in April 2018. OCS held prayer walks at the property with staff, parents and alumni while spending months in negotiations until an agreeable price was achieved.
Anyone wishing to help OCS with funding of the building project or donating time, talent or materials to the renovation can contact the school through their website www.ozaukeechristian. org or by calling the school office at 262-284-6980.
Austin said OCS’s current enrollment is 67 students, but the school is projecting about 100 students for next school year, and with a new, larger space expects enrollment to continue rising.
The exterior of the Trenton Business Center is seen Wednesday morning in the Town of Trenton. Ozaukee Christian School has announced it will be moving into the business center, which formerly hosted a sports bar, gentlemen’s club and non-alcoholic bar.
John Ehlke/Daily News Staff