Future of Heritage Room up in the air as Grace rethinks long-term use

The Winona Heritage Room on Park Avenue in Winona Lake attracted a large crowd Dec. 2 for a Christmas event hosted by the town of Winona Lake. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WINONA LAKE — Changes are underway for one of Kosciusko County’s biggest event centers — the Winona Heritage Room — formerly known as Rodeheaver Auditorium.

The facility at 901 Park Avenue has deep historical roots in Winona Lake and was renamed  about eight years ago.

Its been operated by Silveus for several years.

The facility, which can hold upward of 250 people, has become a top choice for community events and party planners.

But Grace College, which owns the property, confirmed to News Now Warsaw that the college will resume full control of the facility next year as it reconsiders its long-term use of the building.

Grace will regain control in March of 2024, according to Kelsi Griffith, associate vice president of strategies.

She said the it will be part of a rethinking of all campus properties.

“We’ll be using it for all of (2024) currently and then we’re undergoing a master planning for our campus and it will be part of that planning effort,” Griffith said.

“We’re working closely with Winona Heritage Room to make the transition for those who have booked events … to continue as planned,” she said. “We don’t anticipate any interruption in events.”

In recent years, the building has hosted a wide variety of groups ranging from weddings to corporate events to community events organized by the Winona Lake Limitless Parks Department.

The building was named in honor of Homer Rodeheaver, a gospel music publisher and song leader for evangelist Billy Sunday.

According to one online website, the facility was reconstructed and opened in about 1962 in what might have been deemed state of the art building that offered air conditioning.

Third-party vendors who have been contracted to use the facility have been able offer alcohol at the Heritage Room in recent years.  Future use of alcohol — and even the name of the facility — could be reconsidered as Grace College looks at possible changes.

Photo from Winona Heritage Room Facebook page.