Carnegie Center to get upgrades

Council approves funds for improvements

Jill Schramm/MDN Justin Anderson, executive director for the Minot Area Council of the Arts, looks out the front doors from inside the Carnegie Center Tuesday. The doors have out-lived their working life and are in need of replacement.

Minot’s historic Carnegie Center needs upgrades, and the Minot City Council has approved a $50,800 investment to get started.

At its meeting Monday, the council approved on first reading a budget amendment that uses sales tax cash reserves to pay for the updates. The funding request came from the Minot Area Council of the Arts, which took over the lease on the city-owned building from the local Carnegie Association this fall.

The funds include $8,400 for an architectural assessment to identify facility issues and the cost of remedies.

“We do have staff working on some additional issues, such as we have some brick facade that’s pulling away from the building. There’s some need for stabilizing the stone steps coming up into the building,” City Manager Harold Stewart said. “But what this action is meant to do is to take care of some temporary issues to get it so that it is usable and rentable in the short term.”

The city’s agreement with MACA calls for the city to receive 20% of revenues from rentals at the facility, which had been built as a city library.

MACA Executive Director Justin Anderson said MACA has had to turn one interested group away because the facility wasn’t equipped or in proper shape to accommodate its proposed conference. Others have requested space for bridal showers, Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties and next spring’s graduation open houses, he said.

“This is coming without any significant marketing, so there is the interest in the building. People do want to utilize it. Part of the concern with allowing them to utilize it at this point is the larger, more public bathrooms downstairs are in significant need of some help. The downstairs flooring is atrocious,” he said. “The front doors are in bad shape. We need some audio-visual equipment that can help facilitate some of the requests that are coming in.”

The budget amendment would supply $6,700 for purchase of tables and chairs, $100 to replace ceiling tiles, $2,900 for bathroom repairs, $3,200 for storm window repairs, $11,000 for carpet installation/replacement, $3,500 for new front doors and $15,000 for audio-visual equipment and installation.

“Until those things are met, we really can’t move forward with any significant rentals,” Anderson said. “Once we get these improvements and really push on marketing and start having more people in there, I believe that interest is only going to increase.”

Anderson said local businesses have come forward with a desire to help with the building aesthetics. A couple of people have been willing to make significant financial donations to support the city’s investment, he added.

The city has spent large sums in shoring up a part of the foundation and installing a new heating and cooling system, but council members noted the city’s maintenance on the Carnegie has been largely inadequate over the years.

“I think this is a needed step,” council member Stephan Podrygula said. “This building has been an important part of our community, and, hopefully, will be there for a long, long time. It’s over 100 years old so it’s going to need maintenance and upkeep.

“If we want to make use of a structure and activity, we have to make some investment in it,” he added. “The idea of spreading this out among public and private entities is a very good one. So I think it marks another sign of maturity on the part of the community in being willing to accept reality — that if you want something , you need to put a little bit of money toward it.”


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