The Carnegie Center in downtown Minot has been seeing a lot of action and life over the past few months. In its centennial year and under new management, the historic building and diamond in the rough has been undergoing renovations to bring back some of its shine.
The volunteer staff and new executive director Michele McKamy have been working hundreds of hours to restore the Carnegie Center, an historic landmark across the street from Central Campus. In the 1980s, the wall, ceiling, roof and heating system were all redone, said McKamy. Recently, though, hardwood floor in the upstairs grand room was discovered. One of the volunteers pulled up the carpeting and there was linoleum underneath, but then they kept hearing squeaking noises under the linoleum and discovered the wood floor, McKamy explained. She thought the wood floor was saying "find me," she said. They took a vote and the board supported to restore the wood floor. "It's been fun talking to people who remember the old Carnegie," McKamy remarked.
Still needing to be done is refinishing the floor, which will consist of waxing it and coating it with sealant, McKamy said. The wall in the downstairs meeting room was removed to open up the space, she also said, and the floor in that room also has a hardwood floor and will be restored. They plan on replacing the chandeliers, adding stained glass, having the retaining walls replaced, and adding better lighting as well, McKamy added.
Michele McKamy, executive director for the Carnegie Center, walks across the grand room at the Carnegie Center. She has plans to revitalize the landmark building, now at its centennial, by hosting a variety of events that people want.
The restoration project for the upstairs at the Carnegie Center started in June, McKamy said. "We're focused on our mission statement and are going full steam ahead."
Only a handful of people, mainly volunteers, have been helping in the Carnegie Center's restoration project, McKamy said. An average of five people have been helping, but 10 would help on a good day, she noted. The volunteers have spent a lot of their personal time helping with the restoration, McKamy added.
Two volunteers, Larry Weltikol and Joyce Rostad, have been the lifeblood of the building, McKamy noted. They've been volunteers for many years and have a deep passion for the Carnegie Center, she said. "They knew what they wanted to do and see, "McKamy added. "They knew its history and potential for where it can go."
"We just want to revitalize and amp up downtown a bit," McKamy said.
The financing for the restoration project has mostly come from donations, and they're on a shoestring budget, McKamy said. The Carnegie Center is a non-profit organization and everything has been donated, which shows the community support for the Carnegie Center, she remarked. The Carnegie Center also has supporters and funding from the oil and gas groups, McKamy added. "They've been very supportive. We've had amazing support from the downtown business association and have been pleasantly surprised."
The most challenging part of this restoration project has been the flooring and getting it all taken away, McKamy said, but they had great help from the volunteers. Another challenge has been with getting the Carnegie Center's name out and saying they're available, she added. "Since the flood, we feel like the Carnegie has fallen through the cracks." Also challenging has been getting more volunteers to help, McKamy said. "If you've got 30 minutes or two hours, elbow grease is elbow grease."
Seeing changes in the volunteers has been one of the most rewarding aspects of the restoration project at the Carnegie Center, McKamy remarked. The volunteers have worked diligently for many hours, she added, and being able to support them is rewarding. "Without them, the Carnegie wouldn't be what it is and will be."
On the Carnegie Center's wish list are several items such as donations, help with outdoor lighting, polyeurathane flooring, air conditioning, and restoring the walls, McKamy said. They'd also like to get the dumbwaiter to work again, she added.
The Carnegie Center has played host to a wide variety of events over the past 100 years, including weddings, bridal showers, recitals and music events, McKamy said. However, McKamy said she's looking more toward art, literature, and culture. She'd like to bring in a variety of artists, traveling art shows, and music, she noted, and they plan on having a show with the Dakota Cruisers, the classic car group. She'd like to have an event once a month at the Carnegie Center, McKamy said. "We're looking to expand and host any event that people want. We want our name out there."
People interested in volunteering at the Carnegie Center can call, stop by, e-mail, visit their website, or check out their Facebook page. "Someone is here all hours of the day," McKamy said. "We will promote everyone who will promote us."