LEWISTON, Idaho – The oldest Idaho state-owned building still in operation is getting a face lift, thanks to the Idaho Permanent Building Fund.
The Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts & History building, located at 415 Main St. in downtown Lewiston, is currently undergoing an external masonry repair project as well as having the windows on the second floor replaced. The two projects, approved by the Idaho Permanent Building Fund Advisory Council of the Idaho Division of Public Works, are being funded by the Idaho Permanent Building Fund.
Work started on the building on April 6 and is expected to take four months to complete. The project began in 2016 with a grant from the Idaho Heritage Trust to conduct a structural assessment of the building, which was conducted by Keltic Engineering of Lewiston. That assessment led to LC State’s funding request to the Idaho Permanent Building Fund.
The 12,000-square foot building was completed in 1884 when it was known as Vollmer’s Great Bargain Store. It was custom built, beginning in 1883, for Idaho’s first millionaire, J.P. Vollmer. The First National Bank of Lewiston, which Vollmer started, occupied the building during 1904-1946 and then it was sold to First Security Bank, which operated in the building until 1989. In March of 1991, First Security Bank of Idaho donated the building to the LC State Foundation for use as a “center for arts and culture.” Ownership of the building was transferred from the Foundation to the college in October 2010.
Since opening in October 1991, the Center for Arts & History has welcomed more than 80,000 visitors from all 50 states and more than 40 foreign countries.
Along with the windows being replaced to become more energy efficient, the exterior brick on the building is being restored. This masonry repair will include replacing some bricks and mortar where needed. Some of the repair projects through the years used cement instead of mortar and the cement holding some of the brick in place will be replaced with mortar.