PITTSBURG, Kan. — Pittsburg’s new center for fun and games is getting closer and closer to its grand opening.
After delays, the Fun Depot — housed in the “old Pittcraft” building on north Locust St — is set to open its doors within the month.
“I’ve been telling people by the end of the year but there are just so many factors,” General Manager Darcie Shultz said. “We want to open safely.”
Originally, it was set to open in the spring of 2020, but COVID-19 pushed their opening back to the end of the year. But the delay hasn’t dampened Shultz or owner Larry Field’s ideas or spirits. They are excitedly moving forward with converting the old railway office building into a fun destination for people of all ages to let loose and have fun.
“We just want people to have fun and to come play,” Shultz said. “I keep saying, ‘bring on the fun and let's play all day.’”
The Fun Depot is just the latest project in downtown Pittsburg to join the effort of revitalizing old buildings in the area. Fields — who in addition to working on redevelopment projects is also a city commissioner — has previously redone the Frisco Event Center on 4th Street, which has become a premiere venue for weddings in the area. Fields said he even has already had some inquiries about weddings at the Fun Depot.
“We already have some scheduled,” Fields said. “We weren’t particularly planning on it, but this place can hold a lot people, so it makes sense.”
At the moment, the 140-foot-long warehouse stands mostly empty as it waits for its attractions to arrive.
“It should come in next week, I’m excited to get this in, it’s a gaga pit,” Shultz said. “It’s a 26-foot blow-up gaga pit. I think the kids will enjoy that.”
Gaga is a fast-paced game much like dodgeball but is played in a large octagon where players use soft balls to hit their opponents below the knees.
Aside from the gaga pit, when it opens the depot is planned to have a myriad of arcade games, a climbing wall, other fun inflatables, an interactive floor projector and a bar where drinks and light food will be served. But some of those aren’t going to be permanent fixtures of the depot, Shultz said.
“We want it to be fresh,” she said. “We don’t want the attractions to become stale.”
In addition to being a center for fun and games, Fields has embraced the historic feel of the building by leaning into the original brickwork, reusing a lot of the original wood and incorporating unique vintage pieces into the space. These include an old bell that used to hang at Hallmark headquarters on the Plaza in Kansas City and a massive camera that is treasured as a relic of photography.
“They built 220 of those and they think about 20 of them still exist,” Fields said. “What you do with it is you take little brownie cameras; take the little pictures and you blow them up to 24 by 36 or 36 by 42. I know there is one in the Smithsonian.”
Even though their doors haven’t opened yet, Shultz and Fields are already looking towards the future, wanting to add a golf simulator and explore creating an escape room or possibly a haunted house during Halloween.
“When you start from scratch your brain is just firing with all these ideas,” Shultz said. “There’s just so much we could do.”