- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

HUMBOLDT, Neb. (AP) - Residents and leaders in Humboldt hope that renovation work on an old auditorium will transform it back into a center for dances, community and school events and Saturday night roller-skating parties.

The building, constructed in the 1940s, hasn’t been used for the past 15 years or so because its mechanical, heating and plumbing systems are outdated. The city’s seven-member auditorium board is working on a plan to upgrade mechanical systems and add air conditioning.

“We’re going to bring it back to its former glory,” said the board’s chairman, Dennis Crispin. “Our plan is to make it the finest community center in southeast Nebraska.”

The city received a $375,000 state grant in June, and with the city’s match, it will cover the first phase of the restoration project. Humboldt officials say that the work could be underway by winter.

Additional funds will be needed to sandblast and paint the building, add walls inside and for other structural components. Crispin estimates the project could cost up to $2.5 million.

Still, he said, the two-story building is in “tremendous good shape for its age.”

Construction on the facility had begun in spring 1941, and the auditorium’s main floor was poured in January 1942 by around 300 men working around the clock for three days, Crispin said.

The auditorium was dedicated in December 1942. At that time, it had a stage and balcony, space for the city’s clerk’s office, City Council chambers, a ticket office and cloak room.

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