Mon - Fri: 8am - 5pm




Making History

Carnegie Arts Center Historic Renovation

Completed: July 2008

Location: Baker City, OR

Size: 7,360 SQ Ft

Skills Needed

Budget Forecasting

Historic Building Restoration


Sequential Project Phasing

Seismic Upgrades

Hazardous Materials Removal

ADA Access Construction

The Challenge

Historic Restoration Construction Over 6 Years

The Carnegie Library, one of Baker City’s most historic and iconic buildings, was originally built in 1909 with a $25,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie (source). Nearly 100 years later, the effects of time, use, and environmental factors left the building looking worn and weather-beaten. The library needed considerable exterior maintenance, seismic upgrades, modifications for ADA access, and new art spaces.   

The Carnegie Arts Center wanted to use the library as their new home; however, finances were a major challenge for this project as the 501c3 organization could not find the necessary funding for the project all at once.  Instead, work on the project had to be completed in multiple stages as new grants were written and accepted.   

Historic Restoration

The Process

A Marathon Funding and Building Project

Sid Johnson & Co. was involved from the very beginning of the renovation project for the library, helping with the planning of the renovation.

Because funding was a major issue, the Carnegie Arts Center needed strong partners in order to complete the project. Sid Johnson & Co went to work alongside other agencies and obtained grants and community funds of $1.5 million to renovate the historic building.

The project began with an assessment of the interior and exterior space, building systems, and structural components, which included hazardous materials and seismic assessments. Mark Johnson of Sid Johnson & Co. led the project team in the design, materials, and systems recommendations. Mark developed progressive budgets and controls over a period of six years to coincide with the owner’s ability to obtain grants and other funding.

Our goal with the Carnegie Library was to upgrade the safety, livability and integrity of the building while keeping the building as close to the original as possible.

Construction Activities

For the Carnegie Arts Center


Removal of hazardous materials


Select deconstruction and salvage for restoration


Seismic upgrade to update to current commercial code requirement


Installation of ADA access and egress routes and restrooms


New HVAC plant, distribution and environment controls


Reinstallation of wood floor using salvaged and reconditioned wood flooring as well as specially-milled wood


Seismic underpinning for foundation footings in order to prevent the building from settling


Interior retrofit and construction of ADA elevator, including metal framed shaft


Installation of new electrical service and tech lighting for art display and classrooms.


Construction of outdoor plaza with steel fence for access control.


New roofing using combination of hot mop and metal.


Volcanic tuft stone preservation


Inspiring Historic Building for All Types of Art Activities

The Carnegie Library is now known as the Crossroads Carnegie Art Center, which is home to local art classes and exhibits, kids classes and activities, events, and performing arts. Many of the original structures were retained and the new construction complemented the original, allowing the building to retain its historic look and feel.

The mission of the Crossroads Carnegie Art Center, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit founded in 1963, is to create opportunities for the entire community to be engaged, inspired, and transformed by the arts through participation in classes, workshops, exhibits, mentorships, and partnerships – A welcoming place where people meet and the arts speak.” (source)

The Carnegie Art Center is now a great service to the Baker City community. We are proud of our role in preserving and renovating this impressive historic building.

“Crossroads is a magnet. The community is drawn to Crossroads for the opportunity to experience art, whether to enroll in one of our classes, view an exhibit, or purchase a unique gift. Our students range in age from four to over 75. There isn’t an age group that hasn’t been involved in Crossroads in some way, which is a testament to the importance of the arts.”

– Jan Kirby, director of Crossroads Carnegie Arts Center


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