Lowell’s Smith Baker Center

Tony Sampas helps us appreciate the beauty of the brickwork of the Smith Baker Center (formerly the First Congregationalist Church), highlighted by the setting sun.

6 Responses to Lowell’s Smith Baker Center

  1. George DeLuca says:

    We need to start a feasibility study on this building. First thing is to study existing conditions to be sure that it’s stabilized against the elements, i.e., roof leaks, exterior envelope is sealed, etc. Access is needed to review the interior. Any other suggestions?

  2. Barbara Bond says:

    I assume this building is in the Historic District so looking for grants should also be a priority.

  3. PaulM says:

    I hope we have some news to report on the Smith Baker project next month. The Cultural Organization of Lowell applied for a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to study the feasibility of developing a community arts center in Smith Baker, but the application was not approved. COOL will probably re-submit this year because Ford has $10 million a year for ten years to support the development of community arts centers. These are planning grants, not bricks-and-mortar grants. There is an existing redevelopment study for reuse of SB for performing art that was done for the City planning department several years ago, but it should be updated. Look for a notice here and in other media about a public forum to discuss the community arts center idea later this winter.

  4. PaulM says:

    George: Just to add this: the National Park Service last year did some maintenance work on Smith Baker to prevent more serious weather damage and further deterioration of the structure.

  5. George DeLuca says:

    Thanks for the update Paul. Perhaps a tour can be arranged as part of the public forum, led by a LNHP rep who has some knowlege about the condition of the building, so that we can see first hand. It’s great that there’s a fairly recent study in place, as it should include existing conditions study, drawings, history of the building, and an executive summary of proposed sources and uses of funds with proposed scope of renovations and cost estimates. It will be a great starting point and very helpful in expediting the project.

  6. Joan H says:

    I was last in that building about 7 years ago. It was in horrible shape then but had some good “bones” . I can see the potential for restoration. George commented on the roof – if it isn’t leaking- I would be very surprised. I would love to see something done as I saw this building every day when I was working at the library. Were Tony’s pictures taken from the Tech Services window?