Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
We’ve heard a lot of questions over the past few months regarding the proposed donation of the old USD 348 gymnasium located at 712 Chapel Street. Here are some of the questions that have come up in the 3 town hall meetings on this subject, and answers to the best of our ability.
Q: What are some potential uses for this building? Will there be a process to decide how to use it?
A: There are a number of possible final uses for the building, including (but not limited to) a community center, senior center, gymnasium, or business incubator. Once the building has been stabilized, we will work through a community-centered process to help the council make a final decision on use.
Q: How much will it cost to fix the roof so the building is stable?
A: The number we’re working from is $200,000. That will include fixing the roof and remediating mold.
Here is the cost-breakdown analysis provided by architect Jay Zimmerman in 3 different outcome scenarios. These were on display at each of the last two town hall meetings regarding this topic.
Q: Is there asbestos in the building?
A: The asbestos that was in the building was remediated three decades ago when the school district still owned the building.
Q: What else needs fixed?
A: For now, the roof needs to be replaced and the mold remediated. Structurally, the building is sound.
Q: Are there grant opportunities to fund the rehab of this historical building, so the city doesn’t have to foot the whole bill?
A: Absolutely. They will require time to research, write and prepare. But there are many opportunities available to acquire grants for a building of this nature, since it is on the State and National Historic Registers.
Q: Who would benefit?
A: Ultimately, the community will benefit by saving a historical landmark from potential destruction and finding a way to repurpose it in the interest of the community as a whole.
Q: Who would be responsible for staffing?
A: That depends entirely on the final use of the building, so for the moment, it is an unanswerable question.
Q: What about parking?
A: The city would add angle parking on 8th street to accommodate the building’s needs.
Q: Are there other parking options?
A: The parking lot behind the building belongs to the owner of the School House Apartments next to the gymnasium and would not be included in this project. In addition to street parking, city staff is looking at other options.
Q: Why the rush?
A: The privately-owned building is part of an estate, and the family would like to close the estate soon.
Q: Would the city consider selling or leasing the building after they fix it?
A: It would certainly be a consideration, depending on final usage decisions.
Q: How would acceptance of this donation affect everyday citizens in Baldwin City?
A: Eventually, hopefully it would have a beneficial impact on quality of life. In the beginning, citizens wouldn’t see much change for a couple of years while the building is restored to the National Register of Historic Places specifications.