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San Luis Cultural Center

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1938, WPA. 1980, Akira Kanawabe. 401 Church Pl., southeast of the church

The San Luis Cultural Center, built by the WPA as a community center, began as a one-story, flat-roofed adobe structure studded with vigas. In 1943 the facility became the San Luis Institute of Arts and Crafts, a branch of Adams State College. Adams State gave the building back to the community after World War II, and it was converted to the Centennial High School. In 1980 a $1 million federal project remodeled and expanded the old high school into a cultural and commercial center. Akira Kanawabe, an Alamosa native and leading local architect, retrofitted the complex with 2,600 square feet of solar paneling whose two sloping wedges overshadow the original horizontal Pueblo Revival building with their vertical, angular lines. The cultural center houses a museum, a library, an auditorium, and a large diorama of the town as it appeared in 1887. Upstairs, the adobe-walled, pine-plank-floored Morada Room contains a collection of religious art.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel

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