$2 million restoration of Santa Fe depot moves forward

The Santa Fe depot in East Lawrence is shown in this file photo from 2013.

Following delays, the restoration of the Santa Fe train station is once again moving forward.

The Kansas Department of Transportation received no bids for the restoration of the 1950s-era train depot the first time around, requiring technical modifications to the project before it was re-bid last month. KDOT is now ready to award the project to a contractor. As part of its consent agenda Tuesday, the City Commission authorized KDOT to award the bid to First Construction of Lawrence in the amount of about $1.8 million.

Including about $240,000 for engineering for the project, the total cost comes to about $2 million. Eighty percent of the project’s cost will be paid for by a KDOT grant, and the commission also authorized the city to commit $409,000 for its portion.

The renovation has been in the works for years, and the city’s match is $24,000 more than the amount projected in 2014, according to a city staff memo to the commission. The memo states that the possible sale of historic tax credits and reimbursement from Amtrak for upgrades required by the Americans with Disabilities Act will make up the difference.

The station, at Seventh and New Jersey streets, has had limited upkeep over the years; the city won the KDOT restoration grant in 2013. The one-story brick station is an example of mid-century modern architecture, and a local preservation group, Depot Redux, helped lead the restoration effort.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway owns the property, and donated the building to the city. The station is also an active railway stop, and Amtrak leases part of the property to operate its Southwest Chief route.

The majority of the restoration is expected to be complete in 2018.