Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Effort under way to restore historic black officers’ club

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

SIERRA VISTA – There’s some graffiti on the wall, the ceiling has been torn down and the only inhabitants seem to be rodents since the fate of a historic black officers club was to be torn down.

“At one time, it must have been marvelous,” Jan Sheller said after walking through the building and its many rooms recently.

The Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers has leased the building since 2006 with the goal of restoring the only club ever built specifically for black officers in the Army.

But the association members are feeling the pressure as they prepare for a meeting with officials in April to report on their progress.

Association President Joan Way asked contractors and other professionals to help the group find out what is needed to restore the 17,300-square-foot building.

Ricky Robinson, project manager for Castro Electric, was one of the people checking the former club out.

“I’m looking at what it’s gonna take to make this thing live again,” he said.

He plans to talk to suppliers and see what he can get donated to the project, from wire to lights.

Albert Gomez and David Bane of Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative were there to lend expertise on energy efficiency measures by looking at the buildings insulation needs and windows.

The cost to provide electricity to the building is unknown at this point.

Outside, the building’s condition is better but deteriorating, as state Democratic Rep. Pat Fleming, and an association member, saw on Feb. 28.

In 2004, the estimated costs to stabilize the building and preserve exterior were about $430,000.

Today, the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers is aiming to raise $1.5 million to $2 million for the project, said Dave Perryman, preservation coordinator and vice president of the association.

Under the terms of the lease, the group had been tasked to make substantial progress in rehabilitating the building by October 2011.

It was officially known by the Army as Building 66050 when built in 1942.

It was called the Mountain View Officers Club and the Colored Officers Club and is now known as the Mountain View Colored Officers Club, to preserve the historical context of the segregation that existed when it was originally built.

Effort under way to restore WWII Army clubhouse

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