Skip to comments.Can a World War II black officers club be revived? (Deadline nears, what’s needed to save building?)
Posted on 03/01/2009 7:28:00 AM PST by SandRat
FORT HUACHUCA Theres some graffiti on the wall, the ceiling has been torn down and the only inhabitants seem to be rodents since the fate of a historic black officers club was to be torn down.
At one time, it must have been marvelous, Jan Sheller said after walking through the building and its many rooms on Friday afternoon.
Contractors and engineers were at the site of the Mountain View Colored Officers Club on Friday to look at what would be needed to make it marvelous again.
The Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers has leased the building since 2006 with the goal of restoring the only club ever built specifically for black officers in the Army.
But the association members are feeling the pressure as they prepare for a meeting with officials in April to report on their progress.
Association President Joan Way asked contractors and other professionals to help the group find out what is needed to restore the 17,300-square-foot building.
Ricky Robinson, project manager for Castro Electric, was one of the people checking the former club out.
Im looking at what its gonna take to make this thing live again, he said.
He plans to talk to suppliers and see what he can get donated to the project, from wire to lights.
Its gonna need a lot of stuff to bring it to code. I think its very doable, Robinson said.
Albert Gomez and David Bane of Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative were there to lend expertise on energy efficiency measures by looking at the buildings insulation needs and windows.
The cost to provide electricity to the building is unknown at this point.
It all depends on whats done, Gomez said.
The floors are almost completely without insulation, which would be a drain on electricity.
Theyre in the position to go back and insulate that, Bane said.
Polyurethane would be effective. Its just not cheap, he added.
Outside, the buildings condition is better but deteriorating, as state Rep. Pat Fleming, D-District 25 and an association member, saw on Friday.
Look how flimsy that is, she said after seeing the weathered boards that have warped and cracked.
In 2004, the estimated costs to stabilize the building and preserve exterior were about $430,000.
Today, the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers is aiming to raise $1.5 million to $2 million for the project, said Dave Perryman, preservation coordinator and vice president of the association.
Under the terms of the lease, the group had been tasked to make substantial progress in rehabilitating the building by October 2011.
The deadline approaches, but the group can meet it, Perryman said.
The focus now is on getting a feasibility study completed so the association can begin putting contractors to work, hopefully pro bono. The group also hopes to get as many materials donated as possible.
Unfortunately, its a tough time for many of the people whose help they need, said Gary Gervais of Blue Oak Builders, the general contractor for the project.
A lot of contractors I know are out of business, he said.
In addition to the restoration, the association members envision it as a historical center and research hub.
I think the opportunities are obviously there, Fleming said.
People across the nation have recognized the national significance, historical importance and value of the project, Perryman added.
We support the efforts of the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers to restore this historic building. We will continue to work cooperatively with them, said Tanja Linton, a Fort Huachuca spokeswoman.
Officially known by the Army as Building 66050 when built in 1942. It was called the Mountain View Officers Club and the Colored Officers Club and is now known as the Mountain View Colored Officers Club, to preserve the historical context of the segregation that existed when it was originally built.
Perryman said the building is one of just a few World War II era buildings left on Fort Huachuca, and the only one not currently scheduled to be demolished.
Sheller, the associations correspondence secretary, hopes the group can restore the building and keep it from the same fate as many other World War II era facilities.
By tearing things down, we are losing some of our history, she said.
Herald/Review reporter Laura Ory can be reached at 515-4683 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
ON THE NET
Web site for the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers in Sierra Vista:
Like who cares. Is this important?
Don’t we already have enough RACIST issues with the blacks? Maybe Jesse and Al should pay for this divisive project?
It is important to the buffalo soldiers and to the history on the base
I'm afraid what we will hear next is the shrill complaints of them accusing the whites of racism because whites allegedly don't care about a black historic place.
history of the base
McCain and Kyle didnt slip an earmark in the stimulus package for this?
Another monument to the asininity of racial segregation.
The pictures seem to show only white people working to restore the club.
We've heard presentations from all sorts of big name politicos, activist groups, and Hollywood types on this subject.
You know what? Not one of these big name politicos, activist groups, or Hollywood types has given one cent, one moment of their time to this project; not even Loud Mouth Spike Lee who claims to know so much about the 92nd & 93rd Divs, these Divs were trained here.
Everything that has been done has been done locally and it seems none of these important types can be bothered (and they've been contacted) to help.
Please FReepers get the word out on this story.
Rattle some cages if you can. The Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers in Sierra Vista needs some help.
Forgive me I'm a little bit upset that no big names have deigned it important enough to give their time to.
Bad choice of photos by the paper.
Well said. Thank you for speaking some sense.
Tear the damn thing down just to piss some people off.
I may be off base but...
Are we not supposed to leave this racist crap behind us? The more we focus on the bad of the past, the more ammunition the racists have to beat whitey with.
I am for preserving history. Lets save this building because it was a WWII club for Officers who were Black not because it was for Blacks who were Officers. Granted the Army treated it the other way around at the time. My feelings are that this perpetuates the race pimps and gives them more power.
The buck don’t go as far as it used to. Let’s see if the heart does.
This is history, not just black history. I am not black, but I am an American.
I hope it gets remodeled! I would visit it! Wonder if they could get some people like Sean Penn or other African American actors involved so that they could hold Hollywood Fundraisers for this Project.
They’ve tried and these self-important pontificators are not interested. Even the National NAACP turned them done.