The Cotton Belt Depot has been recognized as a Texas Department of Transportation Tourist Information Center to provide tourist/visitor information to travelers. The Chamber will continue to office in the Depot and provides relocation information to the newest members of the community. The Foundation’s goal is to provide visitors and newcomers with a great first impression of our beautiful city and this historic building.
In August 2006 an architectural firm that specializes in historical buildings came and made an assessment of the property. The total estimate was finalized at $900,000.00. The Foundation currently has a revolving line of credit for $100,000.00 which was used to make repairs to the roof and repair structural damage due to age and deterioration.
Building Repair / Exterior
The roof repair has begun by having the original clay tile removed from the building, decking has been replaced as needed, decking was covered with a rain shield and some of the clay tiles have been replaced. The south end of the building was originally attached to a now-demolished baggage structure and must be reinforced with beams and columns. The north end is a flat roof and will require additional structural reinforcement. Much of the fascia boards have rotted and must be replaced. Attic ventilation will be added to increase heating and cooling efficiency. Window seals and door jams need to be repaired and painted. Exterior doors will be repaired or replaced as needed. Additional exterior lights will be added and currently lighting will be updated. All exterior electrical will be examined and replaced as need. Cracks in the mortar will be repaired and columns added to the south end of building will be bricked to match as closely as possible the existing columns on the north end of building.
Building Repair / Interior
Much of interior is still original including ceramic tile floors, plaster walls and beaded wood ceilings. The Foundation plans to keep the interior as original as possible but some repairs are needed. The mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are at least 26 years old and many of the materials and operating equipment are in need to replacement/repair. Damage to ceiling from leaks will be replaced/repaired using materials from storage rooms. Ceramic tile floors will remain but carpet will be replaced in the office area. Interior walls will be repaired and painted. All electrical will be updated, some lighting fixtures will be replaced and the heating and air conditioning will be replaced to increase efficiency.
Our Wish List for Building
The Depot is surrounded on all four sides by concrete parking area. The west side of the building faces State Business Highway 36. We would like to remove the concrete on the west side of the building and replace it with a green space to include trees, grasses, flowers and include seating area for visitors.
Since the Depot is used by many others such as job fairs, Food for Families, Telethons and various civic clubs we plan to update the furniture in the conference room as well as the office as to make the experience of visiting the Depot a pleasant one.