Renovation Unearths Signs of The Past

Southington’s Gura Building was originally built in 1925 according to land records. Located at 93 Main St., the brick building was given the name Gura Building to honor the town’s late health director, Dr. George Gura.

The vacated historical site sits adjacent to the Town Green and was saved from the wrecking ball. In 2012 the building would either be sold to a developer, demolished or leased and used by a non-profit. Previously the building was used in a municipal capacity as a town hall annex housing services such as the Finance,  and Community Service departments. Over the course of history, the Gura Building also served as a police station.

A $1-a-year 20-year lease was approved by the town council in July 2014 after the Southington Community Cultural Arts (SCCA) fulfilled a condition set forth by the town to raise 80 percent of estimated renovation costs of $1.27 million. SCAA raised $1.1 million, helped in large part by a $500,000 contribution through the State Bond Commission.

Mary DeCroce, leader and spokeswoman for SCCA,cites the new community arts center will incorporate classrooms, studios and a performance space. Bookmark and visit SCCA’s site, and in particular the Project Update tab, to learn about the events leading up to the renovation and to see the progress underway.

Florian Properties LLC, a local development firm is supervising the project for SCCA, a non-profit arts group. The cold temperatures aren’t stopping the work. The facade front windows are boarded up but will be replaced by new picture windows.

The interior has been been completely gutted out and Thomas Damon-Smith, Project Foreman, has put aside artifacts he found within the building. A huge metal safe will be cleaned and preserved to serve as a keepsake to the building’s history.Other items such as wall calendars look as vibrant today as they must have looked when first rolled out.

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A crumpled cigarette package reminds us how far we’ve come where smoking is concerned – in 2015 smoking inside is banned from many office buildings. Did employees light up inside the Gura building in years past?

Stay tuned for more photos and if you have your own memorabilia and recollections from either working in the building or what you are looking forward to in its new art capacity, reach out to me at margaretwaage@hotmail.com to share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you and capture your Southington experiences via video interview.

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