A small portion of refurbished floor at the former Van Wert Armory reveals a sneak peak at what will be happening this year. (Times Bulletin/Lindsay McCoy)
BY LINDSAY MCCOY
Times Bulletin News Writer
VAN WERT - Renovations to turn the old Van Wert Armory into the New Wassenberg Art Center are underway but are currently moving very slowly. The Wassenberg is planning a move into the former armory later this year, giving the center more room for classes, exhibits, and other events.Not much work has begun on the building at this point, other than the demolition process. The old drop ceiling and paneling has been removed revealing a tall ceiling in the gallery and wood-paneled ceilings in the front portion of the building. These will be kept since they are in their original state.
Much of the work is waiting on the state building permit to arrive which is expected to be granted within the next week to ten days. Once the permit is in hand, renovations will start in full. Heating, ventilation, air conditioning, carpentry, plumbing, and floor work will be among the first tasks once full renovation work is underway.
"Hopefully we will have a lot of action in here next month," said Van Wert County Foundation Executive Secretary Larry Wendel. "The tentative plan is to open in early June. It will be touch and go, but that is our goal."
A floor plan of the planned renovations show a main gallery containing a main stage for entertainment and bands, a seating area with a fireplace, as well as indoor/outdoor reception areas. There will also be a full kitchen, large bathrooms, and room for classrooms and community involvement. The outdoor reception area is expected to have seating where people can eat and enjoy a lovely view of the courthouse and foot bridge. It is also hoped that the gallery area can be made available for wedding receptions in the future.
"The building is perfect for us," said Wassenberg Art Center Executive Director Hope Wallace. "Other than updating, there is very little we have to change with the layout of the building." The plumbing of this 1938 building is still in good working order and will need very little work. The three classroom areas are expected to work well for club activities and art classes offered to local community members.