PITTSBURG — Driving down North Locust Street people may have noticed the changes in one of Pittsburg’s historic buildings.

The building dates back to the 1880s and was called the Pittsburg Foundry and Machine Company. The building once produced equipment and goods used by miners.

In more recent years, people may know the building as the “old Pittcraft building”, not just because of the fact that Pittcraft owned the building but also its 140 foot long painted sign on the side of the building. After the business moved to its new location around the year 2000, the building has sat empty since.

The new owner, Larry Fields, plans to keep the Pittcraft painting on the building, in fact, he touched it up a bit to help it last for several years to come.

So what’s the building going to be now?

A family fun center.

“I really believe we need something in Pittsburg for families,” he said adding that the area has “great little leagues” for children, an aquatic center and great dance programs, but he wanted to give families something fun they can go do together.

Assisting with this endeavor is Pittsburg State University students in Denise Bertoncino’s Interior Design course in the School of Construction. In February, the students produced several schematic designs for the building. This is the second time Interior Design students have worked with a community partner to revitalize a historic building, last time they helped design Signet Coffee’s Airbnb, Signet Loft.
“They have a lot of talent,” he said of the PSU students at the time.

This is also not Fields’ first renovation in Pittsburg. In 2017 he opened the Frisco Event Center, a former railroad depot on E. 4th Street.

Fields plans to have several activities at the family center, including climbing walls, a small trampoline with harnesses, which include accessibility for wheelchairs and he’s currently looking into pricing for “high end” arcade games including golf simulators.
“I want everybody to use it [the facility], family, grandma and grandpa,” he said.

Not in the plan from the students, he has added two decks for more activity space.

Fields began demolition of the interior of the building in January. The old windows — which are several feet tall — have been removed and will soon be replaced with new glass. Fields said ventilation and most of the new roof is complete. The brick work is approximately 90 percent complete. His crew is also working on putting in “Kansas Stone” from Redfield, Kansas.
“Everything can buy locally, I’m buying,” Fields said, the same plan he had with the Frisco Event Center.

The tentative completion date is Spring 2020.