By the end of the year, Galveston will have a new use for a historic municipal building.
The city is a little less than a year into rehabilitating and repurposing the historic 30th Street Water and Electric Light Station into a community center.
The station, at 30th and Ball streets, hasn’t been used for electric services for a century and hasn’t been a water pump station since 2010, when the city opened its new pump facility at 31st and Church streets, city spokeswoman Marissa Barnett said.
The $2.9 million rehabilitation of the 6,800-square-foot facility should be completed by late October or early November, Barnett said.
Work on the project began last fall, she said.
The project is funded through federal disaster relief money, she said.
“The idea behind this project was to restore a beautiful historic structure and provide something useful and beneficial,” Barnett said.
The 1888 structure has weathered several storms, but was substantially rebuilt after The 1900 Storm, said Calvin Neill, superintendent with contractor Ardent Construction.
The building did take in some water during Hurricane Ike in 2008, he said.
“We’re doing as much as we can just to reuse,” Neill said. “The goal of this project is to rehabilitate as much as we can.”
All the exterior brick is being rehabilitated, Neill said. An exterior cornice that’s been damaged will be rebuilt using fiberglass, Neill said.
“That’s all getting rebuilt per the old photographs,” Neill said.
While one of the two old water tanks will be torn down to clear the way for parking, one will be preserved, Neill said.
That demolition is costing about $670,000, paid for through disaster relief money, according to city records.
Inside, crews are constructing some rooms to accommodate meeting space and restrooms and are restoring plaster walls and tiling the floors with the original gold and cream colors, Neill said.
Crews need to repair some of the roof, but the building is structurally sound, he said.
The building’s limestone base dates back to 1888, he said.
“We’ve dug down about 10 feet in some areas in this wall and it goes down past 10 feet,” Neill said. “It’s pretty cool learning about it.”
The meeting and community center space will add to other options on the island, such as those at Wright Cuney Recreation Center, 718 41st St., Barnett said.
“Wright Cuney is more geared toward physical activities,” Barnett said. “There is some community space in Wright Cuney for meetings or educational events, but the 30th Street facility will provide additional community event space.”
The community center is meant to complement the island’s newest mixed income development, The Cedars at Carver Park, 2914 Ball St., which opened in 2015, Barnett said.