LCRA awards $25,000 grant to Northside Center for new restrooms

New facilities will complete campus revitalization project for El Campo nonprofit

An LCRA representative presents a $25,000 grant to the Northside Center for new restrooms. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Carolyn Gibson, Northside board member and executive director of City Development Corporation of El Campo; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board member; Tommy Hitzfeld, Northside board member; Leeanna Shimek, Northside executive director; and Mindi Snyder, Northside board member.

EL CAMPO, Texas – The Northside Center will build two new restrooms in its auditorium thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority.

The Community Development Partnership grant, along with $125,000 in matching funds raised by the center, will enable the Northside Center to complete the final stage of a campus revitalization project by adding restrooms in an upstairs auditorium.

“We’ve renovated this whole campus area and turned Northside into a community hub over the last 20 years,” said Leeanna Shimek, executive director of Northside Center, a nonprofit providing educational resources to El Campo and surrounding communities. “Our building is 102 years old, and most people don’t know we even have an upstairs auditorium.”

The Northside Center partners with local school districts and colleges to offer college credit courses, continuing education courses, workforce development training and tutoring. It also offers public computer labs, free wi-fi and workspaces for residents and visitors.

Since the original auditorium did not have restrooms, the space is being reworked to include them.

“The restrooms will have to be completely built, but we’re working to keep all of the historic architectural features of the space,” Shimek said. “We’re building a men’s and women’s restroom right across from each other that will take up about a quarter of the space upstairs.”

Shimek said each restroom will have multiple stalls and a large vanity and will be very efficient.

“We made sure to build in self-flushing toilets, automatic hand washing stations and automatic light sensors into the bid for the project so we can do our part to help save water and energy,” Shimek said.

Once complete, the auditorium will serve as the center’s largest group space, accommodating about 120 people for conferences, seminars and community events.

“We will continue to focus on education and workforce development for the auditorium,” Shimek said. “We’re really proud to revitalize this whole campus for things the community needs and uses, and we will continue to grow with the times.”

The community grant is one of 44 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves.

Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in July. More information is available at

About LCRA

The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations.

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