A historic library becomes a center for veterans
Caldwell veterans have been involved in a special project since 2014, transforming a historic former Carnegie Library on Cleveland Boulevard into the Caldwell Veterans Memorial Hall.
The hall will be a center to serve the needs of approximately 16,000 veterans who live in Canyon County and in surrounding counties. The hall will offer job and counseling services as well as public spaces for other programs and events. Features include a community room with 27 computer stations, a commercial-grade kitchen, a dining room that can seat 54 people and a large meeting room that can seat 150. The hall, scheduled to open in 2017, will be ADA compliant.
The project is unique, say organizers, because it is being run entirely by veterans, apart from existing state and federal programs for veterans.
The project is ambitious. Because it is a grass-roots effort, organizers have relied on donations to pay for electrical, plumbing, windows, heating and more for the 1914 historic building.
Organizers got a bit of recent good news, a $10,000 grant from the Home Depot Foundation. The foundation will host a public event to celebrate from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6, at the hall, 1101 Cleveland Blvd. in Caldwell. Proceeds from a BBQ lunch will benefit the project.
This is the second donation from the foundation. It will pay for the building’s insulation. Home Depot is also providing around 40 volunteers to install the insulation, said Terry Harrell, a veteran who has been involved with the project since the beginning.
Harrell estimates that between donations of construction material and labor, about $1.2 million has already gone into the building.
“But it shows. On the outside and the inside. It’s beautiful,” said Harrell.
Electrical work, roofing and plumbing is done. The veterans also managed to raise the money for an elevator that will be installed this fall.
Harrell said several major projects remain for the project. Fundraising continues to pay for historically accurate windows at $97,000, restoring wood floors throughout the building for $35,000 and for installing heating and air conditioning that will allow the veterans to retain the high ceilings in the building for $130,000.
“Those are three things we don’t have resolution on,” said Harrell. “But with the insulation in, we’ll be able to do sheet rock and start doing some of the finishes.”
The Idaho Statesman will continue to follow this project and keep you posted as it progresses. If you’d like to help the effort or learn more, contact Chairman John Muirhead at 208-960-4012.