The Town of Blacksburg plans to renovate the historic Alexander Black house to become the Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Center headquarters.
Last week the Museum and Cultural Center announced its launch of a $1.5 million capital campaign. The center is looking for donations from local businesses and anyone in the community willing to contribute. Upcoming fundraisers, including a dinner in June, will also aid the fundraising process.
The Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Center purchased the house in 2002 from the developers of Kent Square.
A little less than $500,000 has been spent on the house since 2002, including the purchase, relocation, foundation setting and utilities costs. Since the town purchased the house in 2002, officials have been planning for its restoration.
As of now, $235,000 has been raised toward the capital project. The fundraising campaign will take place over the next three years. Construction in the house will begin when pledges for the $1.5 million have been made.
“We’re looking to have the building completed by 2012,” said Terry Nicholson, museum administrator.
Originally, the house sat where the Starbucks in Kent Square is currently located. It was moved one block to Draper Road in order to save it from being destroyed during construction. The house will permanently remain where sits now.
The Town of Blacksburg has pledged to match the $1.5 million raised by the center. Some of this money is currently being used to pay for the architect of the project.
Once completed, the house will be used for programs and conferences, as well as the Museum and Cultural Center headquarters. The headquarters are currently located in the Old Town Hall building on the corner of Church Street and Jackson Street.
“The balance has been budgeted for the capital improvement campaign,” said Adele Schrimer, director of Blacksburg’s engineering and GIS department.
The project is currently in the design phase. Glave and Holmes, a company based out of Richmond, have been selected as the architects for the project. When the design is completed, the town will choose a construction contractor based on a bidding process. The house will be externally restored to its 1891 appearance.
The house was built in 1890 and the Black family lived in it until 1935. Black’s great-great-uncle was part of the original family that founded the town of Blacksburg. Black was the founding president of the National Bank of Blacksburg, which is still in existence today.
“The front porches, doors and windows will be put back from the original house. The interior will have one room restored as a period room with furniture typical of a house from that period,” Schrimer said.
The wood floors in the house will be restored, but all of the original woodwork will be preserved. New handicap-accessible restrooms will be installed and an addition on the back of the house will be constructed with an elevator and building code-compliant stairway.
Students can help with the project as well.
“Students are part of the community,” Nicholson said. “Any help they can give financially or volunteering would be appreciated.”