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Help sought to restore historic nurses' home

The concept of the saving the old dormitory for nurses treating patients at a neighboring tuberculosis hospital was pitched to contractors and tradespeople at a luncheon meeting last year in Crown Point. One architect calls the historical structure  "a unique building to the planet."

John J. Watkins, The Times

CROWN POINT — Work to renovate the former nurses home on the city's north boundary into a classical arts center continues, and Gloria Tuohy is about to launch a fundraising effort to complete the project by July 2017.

Background

The historic 1930 tuberculosis sanatorium nurses home was turned over to Tuohy 12 years ago by the Lake County commissioners to convert into the arts center. The three-story building had fallen into disrepair, but Tuohy has raised enough money to complete most of the exterior renovation, including new windows and roof, tuckpointing and other repairs.

She now hopes to raise funds for the interior renovation with the goal of completing it by July 2017. The Indiana Ballet Theatre, which was founded by Tuohy, will occupy the top floor, and the second floor will be rented to several nonprofit arts groups and individual artists. The first floor will have a black box theater, a bistro, a meeting room, a reception area, and a gift shop.

What's next

The fundraiser, which will be July 21 at the Crossroads Chamber of Commerce, is free with wine, beer and hors d'oeuvres to coax attendees into donating to the cause. Molly the Trolley will shuttle attendees across the street for a virtual tour of what the building will look like if the money and in-kind donations are received.

Tuohy hired a fund development director to help the fundraising effort reach the goal of $1 million. Tuohy already has pledges and donations for $500,000. Once the $1 million is raised, a bank has agreed to loan the remaining funds needed to complete the interior work, which the architect estimated will require $2.5 million.

The City Council approved an $18,400 facade grant in December for repair of the entrance, and Tuohy said she hopes to get a second grant to help pay the $23,000 cost of renovating a dozen basement window wells.

"For all the nonbelievers out there, we are going to get this building done," she said.

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