GILMORE CITY - Calcium Products Inc. has opened a new headquarters in its hometown of Gilmore City.
The company, which makes pelletized limestone and gypsum for farm use, bought the former St. John's Catholic School in May 2012. Some business activities are already being conducted there even as remodeling of the building continues.
''The most attractive part was being able to find space in Gilmore City since this is where we're from,'' said Craig Dick, the company's vice president of sales and marketing. ''Our roots have been in Gilmore City since Day 1.''
Calcium Products Inc. is turning this former parochial school in Gilmore City into its new corporate headquarters. The building was obtained from St. John the Evangelist Church last year and is being remodeled. Some company employees are already working there.
Dick is one of the five or six people who will work in the former school initially. He said Monday that decades from now there could be 20 people working there.
The company's headquarters used to be at its quarry near Gilmore City.
''You cannot imagine how dusty our old offices were,'' Dick said.
He added that the company's sales and accounting functions were outgrowing the space there.
The former school at 308 S.W. Ave. E was built in 1965. The last classes were taught there in 1971, and the building was then used for church social functions. Gradually, fewer and fewer activities were held there. Gilmore City Mayor Dick Jergens said he believes the building was unused for 15 years before the company bought it.
In a written statement, Jergens praised the company's decision to locate its offices in the former school.
''We are so proud of Calcium Products and their founder, Larry Moore,'' he said. ''He and his family have done so much for Gilmore City and this is just another example. This is good for Gilmore City because it's a major boost. Heck, if they add five new jobs that's 10 percent of our population and that's a good thing.''
As originally configured, the building consisted of four large classrooms and a library that surrounded a multipurpose room that served as both the cafeteria and gymnasium. The classrooms on the building's south side have already been subdivided into five offices. The kitchen will be used as the employee break room, Dick said, and the library has been transformed into a conference room.
The school's boilers were removed. Dick said each room now has its own heating and air conditioning units.
He added that a new electrical system, plumbing, windows, fiber optic cable and ''business-grade Internet service'' have been installed.
The creation of the corporate headquarters comes in the wake of a $7 million expansion of the company's Fort Dodge plant. That expansion is expected to create 12 new jobs.
The company also has facilities in Alden and Aplington. It employs about 75 people.