Baldwin City to break ground on historic renovation of the Baldwin City Community Center

October 12, 2023


Baldwin City residents and friends will come together at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26 to break ground on an historic community project.

Baldwin City Community Center Groundbreaking

Time: 4:30 p.m.

Date: Thursday, October 26 

Location:  712 Chapel Street, Baldwin City

Baldwin City residents and friends will come together at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26 to break ground on an historic community project.

The project involves transforming a local historic gymnasium, located at 712 Chapel Street, into the Baldwin City Community Center. Once completed, the renovated facility – which is on the National Historic Register -- will be used as a community gathering space for events such as indoor movies, community events, meetings, pop-up history displays, casual sports, video game competitions, senior games & exercise, community meals, church activities and indoor concerts.

This project is made possible by a lead gift from the Bauer Family in addition to memorials and gifts contributed by individuals, families and businesses throughout the community. A portion of the gymnasium’s original maple court will be repurposed into a memorial wall to recognize donors. Donations may be made here, or by contacting Douglas County Community Foundation at 785-843-8727.

“From day one, this has been known as ‘a building for the community, built by the community,’ where neighbors rolled up their sleeves to create a much-needed space for our community,” said Mayor Casey Simoneau. “We are grateful for the leadership of generous donors as our community comes together again 80 years after its storied beginnings to bring this historic building back to life for generations to come.”

Construction of the gymnasium began in 1942 as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Program. However, work was halted when WPA workers were shifted to complete a project at the University of Kansas. On January 3, 1943, a fire destroyed Baker University’s gymnasium, leaving Baker and Baldwin High School teams with nowhere to play. In response, community members pitched in to finish the space the WPA had started. The first games were played in the gymnasium on January 29, 1943.

Click here to view the plans