The Fort Ben Cultural Campus is coming to the City of Lawrence and construction is underway on this five-phased project. Phase Three, a new Visual Arts Center begins July 27th as the former Communications Building from decommissioned Fort Benjamin Harrison is lifted from its current position onto a truck bed and slowly moved to its new location on the Fort Ben Cultural Campus. The entire process will take a week or so with the actual move of the building likely happening on Friday, July 31 or Monday, August 3.
This innovative arts campus is the vision of Arts for Lawrence, which is overseeing the project for the City of Lawrence. Judy Byron, Executive Director for Arts for Lawrence says: “We’ve always envisioned another building on the Cultural Campus to offer art classes and a permanent gallery space. Repurposing the communications building seemed a perfect fit, we just need to move it around the corner.”
A World War II era structure, the Communications Building was home to the Indiana Sector Command and the USAR (United States Army Reserve) Advisory Group while Fort Benjamin Harrison was an active military base. It is currently located behind redeveloped barracks, now luxury condominiums on Lawton Loop in the Historic District of Fort Ben. The building was moved once to make way for new garages for the condominiums, but its location makes its use limited if at all desirable. The Fort Harrison Reuse Authority (FHRA) owned the building and was growing weary of trying to find a buyer. The FHRA donated the building to the cause to help create a vibrant arts campus. FHRA Executive Director, Aletha Dunston says: “The FHRA is proud to be a partner on the Cultural Campus project. We see this move as an exciting way to preserve a piece of military history while bringing another inclusive art opportunity to the Fort Ben campus.”
Funding for the Fort Ben Cultural Campus was provided through a competitive grant process from the Lilly Endowment Inc., through its Strengthening Indianapolis through Arts and Cultural Innovation initiative. For more information about the Fort Ben Cultural Campus go to www.artsforlawrence.com/FBCC.