The Carnegie building is set to begin a new chapter in its venerable history in Leavenworth.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Wednesday by the Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce, marking the transition of the building from a library and arts center to a residential living space.

The Carnegie building has been converted into a mixed-use space for 11 residential units. 

It is called Carnegie 601, taking into account its original name and street address on South Fifth Street.

Caleb Buland, an executive with Exact Architects, said the $1.4 million renovation took about six months to design and about one year to construct.

Exact Architects recently converted the former Ben Day School in Leavenworth into a 25-unit apartment building, Ben Day Lofts.

Buland said the Carnegie building now houses 11 residential apartments of varying sizes, including a studio apartment that rents for $450 per month and two-bedroom apartments that start at $795 per month.

One of the apartments features a large, antique glass curio that once stored historic, high-value books at the library.

Many of the apartments feature high, vaulted windows, including the 14-foot windows in what was called the library stacks. Some apartments have exposed brick while others, such as the former ballet dance studio, features a yellow pine wood floor.

He said many improvements were made to the building, including new windows, a new roof, new plumbing, new insulation and new heating and air conditioning units. New sidewalks were built to adhere to accessibility guidelines required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We are set up to run for another 100 years,” Buland said.

Leasing agent Jeremy Greenamyre said space will be offered for use to local nonprofits to curate a small art gallery or to have art projects.

The two-story brick and limestone structure was the first Carnegie Library in Kansas and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The building has gone through many evolutions since it was constructed from 1900-1902 with a grant from industrialist/philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

The building housed the Leavenworth Public Library from 1902 to 1987.

The Carnegie building then was donated to what was called the Leavenworth Area Arts Council.

From 1987 to 2012, the Carnegie Arts Center was housed in the building. The Carnegie Arts Center operated as a nonprofit organization where instruction and performance space was available for art, painting, art history, music, dance, pottery, drama and more.

The Carnegie Arts Center closed in June 2012 as financial difficulties led to its demise.

Ownership of the building then reverted to the city of Leavenworth.

City commissioners concluded that the city could not afford to maintain the historic building.

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