City, college partner to complete renovations to The Center of Craig

The City of Craig and Colorado Northwestern Community College-Craig decided to put in extra time and money to ensure The Center of Craig is complete when it opens following extensive renovation.

The city will give an extra $60,000 toward the completion of the historic building. Employees of APH Construction have been working for months to renovate the 100-year-old church and community center. Renovation is complete and has been approved by the architect, but officials believe the renovations called for in the original contract only half complete the building. Most of the basement, the auditorium and the stairwells were not improved and city officials believe the rest of the building should be upgraded to fully complete renovations.

"When we entered into the contract, it was just to get the electrical and structural stuff done," City Manager Jim Ferree said

Ferree asked City Council to fund additional improvements. He estimated the cost to be about $60,000. There is $34,460 remaining in The Center of Craig budget, savings because the city chose not to hire a director this year. Using that money and a $25,000 contribution from the general fund reserve would give the city the amount needed to complete the project, bringing the total price tag to about $544,000.

Originally, renovations included electrical and structural upgrades, refinishing the church portion, adding classrooms in the basement, constructing offices on the main floor and upgrading kitchen. Installing an elevator to provide access to each part of the building was also in the renovation plan.

There are now two offices and a reception area in The Center, which will be used for the Small Business Development Center. Beneath the church, two rooms were built to provide additional classroom space.

"That's about 2,000 square feet of classrooms they wouldn't have had," APH Construction owner Dave Griffith said. "As we did all this work, it became apparent we should just finish the building."

Now that the original renovations are complete, funding is needed for landscaping, tables and chairs, replacing the ceiling grid in the basement, purchasing a stove and refrigerator for the kitchen, installing additional counters and a sink in the kitchen, and purchasing a new changeable message sign. Upgrades will also include carpeted and painted stairwells. Dean Hollenbeck, vice-president of the college, is organizing the painting of the stairwells, which will all be volunteer work.

The city will purchase a portable stage, carpet and tile for the auditorium. The Center of Craig board member Missy Bonaker is raising money privately to replace the windows in the auditorium.

The college has given the city $20,000 for upgrades to the basement and has painted the floor and walls in the pottery room.

The building department has issued a conditional use permit for occupation of The Center of Craig and the college is using part of the building to hold classes.

Ferree is unsure when the additional work will be complete.

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