SAN LUIS — San Luis has the opportunity once again, to have an art museum and cultural center at the Sangre de Christo Cultural Heritage Center. This empty building has been the center of debate for many years. Today, the classrooms are quiet, with chairs set up and ready for a presentation.
Why is Centennial School involved? The building in question was originally bought by the Centennial School District for $1 in the 1950s from Adams State University.
It operated as the school for San Luis until 1974, when the present Centennial School was built.
The Centennial School District then turned over management of the building to the town of San Luis and the building operated as the Sangre de Christo Cultural Heritage Center from 1974-2010.
By then, the building started to fall into disrepair. The Town of San Luis turned over management to a local non-profit called Costilla County Economic Development Center (CCEDC) to be able to access grant money for repairs and restoration of the cultural center.
The CCEDC signed a 99-year lease with the Centennial School District for $1 per year, took over management of the museum and began repairs.
In the ensuing years, with the help of History Colorado grant funding, over one million dollars have been used to restore the exterior and make necessary repairs to the Sangre de Christo Cultural Heritage Center.
To date, the theater has been completed and is open for occasional events. There is a $130,000 grant available to make final repairs to open the cultural center to the public.
Things came to a standstill in 2018, when the cultural complex suffered flooding due to frozen pipes. Through insurance issues, the Centennial School District board discovered they were the owners of the building.
They revoked the lease from CCEDC. Because the building was no longer run by the non-profit, it was not eligible for grant money for continued repairs.
The Town of San Luis has offered to buy the building, because of the many years invested in and gain ownership to be able to complete repairs and open the cultural center. The school board wants to turn the building into a learning center.
The issue of ownership will be addressed at the Centennial School District Board of Education meeting Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. Parents and the public are urged to express their opinion as to the future of the Sangre de Christo Cultural Heritage Center.