CALDWELL, Idaho (KBOI) - Three veterans organizations are raising money to restore the old Carnegie Library and convert it into the Caldwell Veterans' Memorial Hall.
Built in 1914, the building once housed a library and then school district offices. The city of Caldwell entered into a lease agreement with the newly-formed Caldwell Veterans' Council in November. The group includes the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and American Legion. All three organizations will have office and storage space once work is completed.
"When you're driving by, it will look like the library in 1914," said John Muirhead, construction manager. "You come inside and it'll be a modern office building."
Walls are labeled "yes" and "no," indicating which ones go and which ones stay.
Socializing, teaching job skills and driving folks to the VA are part of the plans for the one-stop shop for veterans' services. Muirhead estimates 14,000 veterans live in Canyon County.
"A draw for veterans of my generation to get involved with these service organizations is - one - to continue the traditions and to empower older generations to get access to services, to share lessons learned, and for younger guys like me, to understand how programs work," said Noah Siple, secretary of the Caldwell Veterans' Council and quartermaster of the VFW.
Siple said they need one or two large grants to get started on the project, estimated to cost more than $577,000. Members of the community have also donated.
"I think this will be a very good addition and a very beneficial addition to Caldwell and to the west end of the valley," said Muirhead. "There's only one place right now where veterans can go to get the services for VA, and that's in Boise."
The vets hope to break ground next month. They want to raise the ceilings, which were lowered several feet during previous renovations, repair original doors and find the wood under years of paint, like things were in 1914, while providing 21st century services.
To volunteer or for additional information, contact John Muirhead at 623-826-3998. You can donate through Caldwell City Hall