TAF unveils $4 million plan for Wells Cultural Center

Nov 13, 2012

The Tippecanoe Arts Federation (TAF) is renovating, restoring and expanding its historic home.

The terrace of the Wells Cultural Center is the first repair project on the Tippecanoe Arts Federation's list.
Credit Mike Loizzo / WBAA Radio

Work is underway on the first phase of the project, which involves rebuilding the terrace at the Wells Cultural Center on North Street in Lafayette. Also, the limestone façade on south, west and east sides, and the brick wall on the north side will be cleaned and repaired for about $250,000.

Executive Director Tetia Lee says this work kicks-off a five-year campaign that requires an additional $3.7 million.

“This is indeed what the community wants. The growth over the last five years of the programs that we’ve been providing, they are at capacity. As well as, there’s a growing demand for more. We are literally bursting at our seams.”

The limestone front of the terrace at the Wells Cultural Center has fallen off and exposed the brick under-structure.
Credit Mike Loizzo / WBAA Radio

She says the expansion on the back of the building will add office and meeting space and more room for member organizations. Lee says it’s the result of years of assessment and planning.

“The community has been very supportive, thus far, and embraced this project as a way to meet the goals of all these plans that the community has. So, we’ve been able to, for these first projects, raise (the funds) from the community.”

She says TAF will be looking for national grants and gifts from corporations and other foundations during the fundraising campaign.

Original construction of the Wells Building was complete in 1927.

The existing bookshelves in the back of the Wells Cultural Center are a reminder of the building's original purpose as a library.
Credit Mike Loizzo / WBAA Radio

It was built as the county library and still has some book shelves in place. However, the renovation, restoration and expansion project will remove those and other signs of the old library.

Lee says this is a project she’s wanted to do since she began working here in January, 2008.

“After the drawings were done and we looked at all of the feedback from community members, you just can’t not be excited about these next steps, because we’re addressing exactly what they’re wanting. And to know that the community also supports that and will help us sustain it is very exciting.”

The engineering firm's conceptual drawing for the exterior of the Wells Cultural Center.
Credit Scholer Corporation