The mission of the Third Street Center is to promote community through a multitenant, mixed-use facility that models sustainability in its design and practice. Originally opened in 1961 as the Carbondale Elementary School, the building was renovated, repurposed and reopened in June, 2010. As an independent, self-supporting community center and regional hub, we are supported by rental revenue, individual donors, and private grants.
By providing long-term, affordable rental space, the Center brings together a diverse collection of nearly three dozen nonprofit organizations, artists and small businesses under one roof, leveraging their unique strengths. It offers them opportunities to work together more closely, creatively and efficiently to develop solutions for common problems facing the region and their clients. In sharing a home, the nonprofits are encouraged to share skills, talents, and resources, enabling them to more effectively pursue their missions.
In addition to being a home to 36 nonprofits, small businesses, and artists, we are a community center hosting over 2,000 meetings and events in our community spaces each year (we expect more to take place in 2018 with the renovation of the Gym). There are over 100 jobs based here (many of which did not exist when we opened in 2010) making us an economic incubator for Carbondale and the region. With our solar panels producing more electricity than we need, we're a renewable energy power plant pumping solar electricity onto the grid. And as of May 2017, we are home to some of the best coffee in the Valley with the opening of Cilundu Coffee (caffeine intake and productivity have definitely jumped).
Transforming an old elementary school turned out to be a pretty good idea.
Carbondale, Colorado has a history of forging creative solutions and enlisting individual talents to accomplish great things for the Roaring Fork Valley. Where a need has been identified, Carbondale has rallied to meet it. This is especially true of the 45,100-square-foot newly renovated Third Street Center.
An endeavor of this magnitude has required the collective expertise and good faith of many individuals. Challenged and inspired by their common vision, diverse constituencies (ranging from private citizens and design professionals to nonprofit leaders and elected officials) negotiated a series of steps to ready the old Carbondale Elementary School for its renovation. In October 2008, the Town of Carbondale and the Roaring Fork RE-1 School District completed a land swap that brought the school and the land upon which it sits under the Town's ownership. The Town subsequently executed a renewable 49-year lease with the Center, allowing years of planning to move to the tangible reality of renovating the building.
Transforming a 1961 school building that had undergone expansion over the decades presented the Third Street Center's Design and Development Team with unique challenges … as well as enormous opportunities. The project team made sustainability a core design principle. Using LEED guidelines, they developed a renovation plan that unifies the building's sections, honors a commitment to managing longterm costs for tenants, and minimizes the facility's carbon footprint.
Flooded with natural light, animated by art, and filled with innovative green design elements, the Third Street Center provides an attractive, productive environment for its tenants. Shared spaces, such as a board room, break areas and community room, further conserve resources by reducing the amount of space tenants must lease individually to conduct their programs. Additionally, these common spaces foster a culture of collaboration that has synergistic benefits for the community at large.