BARC capital campaign to begin this SaturdayWINDOM — Eighty-one years ago, a legacy started when the Windom High School was built. Ten years ago, the Business Arts and Recreation Center (BARC) created a new legacy in the former school building.
WINDOM — Eighty-one years ago, a legacy started when the Windom High School was built. Ten years ago, the Business Arts and Recreation Center (BARC) created a new legacy in the former school building.
On Saturday, a group of individuals representing BARC will kick start a capital campaign — named “Building a Legacy” — to continue providing various services in the community.
The aptly named campaign is designed to raise funds for the refurbishment of the age-old structure located on Fifth Avenue.
“We want people to know the difference between the capital campaign and the donations they make to BARC for the general operations cost,” stressed Greg Warner, the campaign chairperson and a BARC staff member. “BARC has always needed the general operating dollars, but the campaign is for the actual infrastructure.”
In 2010, Warner approached the BARC board with a strategic planning idea — to create a sustainable and viable regional organization. After numerous discussions, the board identified several portions of the building that would require immediate work.
“Our goal is to raise $400,000-plus,” Warner said. “The target reflects what we think we can raise. It does not reflect what our needs are, but we realize that the economy isn’t great.”
Auditorium/gymnasium: Warner explained the facility’s full potential cannot be achieved during summer months without air conditioning in the auditorium.
“We have a great 1931 vintage auditorium with acoustics better than what they are building nowadays but we can’t use it from June to September,” he said. “The curtains are also falling apart. Some of the professional performers who’ve been here have commented on it.”
The longer-than-usual stage doubles as the facility’s gym.
Energy saving windows/doors: Another area requiring attention is the building’s insulation.
Warner explained that energy-efficient doors and windows are needed to reduce the heating cost.
“We’ve been lucky this year but you can feel the draft from the windows,” he added.
Electrical updates: Most of the electrical system has lasted since the building was constructed in 1931, Warner said.
“There wasn’t a need for electrical outlets and lightings in 1931 like what we need today,” he explained. “The whole building was designed as a school for day use only.
“Right over the hallway, you’d think there would be lights,” he continued. “But then, they had these big, expansive windows. and they didn’t use the school at night.”
Roof repairs: Water marks and the peeling paint in rooms are evidence that the 80-year old roof is in dire need of replacement. Instead of continuous repairs to the existing roof, the BARC board has decided replacement would be more financially feasible.
Room renovations: At 76,000 square feet, the BARC building has numerous rooms for a variety of community and business events.
One such room is the former library, where events like graduation parties and wedding receptions are organized.
“We have carpets from the 1970s,” Warner said. “We’d like to get better air flow with ceiling fans, new lighting and wall-to-wall carpets.”
According to Warner, some rooms on the second and third floors are only used once a week, while others remain unused due to water damage.
Other areas on the priority list include resurfacing a parking lot plagued with potholes and creating an endowment fund for BARC.
“BARC is not finite,” Warner said of the non-profit organization that started a decade ago.
The building serves a myriad of community needs that range include hosting a church in the basement and basketball games for Mountain Lake Christian High School as well as providing meeting space for community education.
“We have rooms we rent out for office space if you need a place to work for a few days,” added Candy Zook, the campaign’s marketing coordinator.
A computer lab equipped with 12 computers and four laptops are available for public access at the facility.
“When you look at this old building, you wouldn’t think we would have Wi-Fi,” he said.
As the campaign nears the weekend kickoff celebration, Warner stressed the importance of the joint effort by community volunteers.
“There’s a lot of passion going into this,” he said.
A family-oriented celebration is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at the BARC building.
Daily Globe Reporter Ana Anthony can be reached at 376-7321.