ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – An old Abilene building is being transformed into a place for all community members. The facility, rebranded to be called ‘Abilene Heritage Square,’ is going to house a new public library, science exhibition center, an auditorium and more entertainment features. 

“It’s what we term as ‘the living room of the community,’” said Laura Moore, Board Director of Abilene Heritage Square. “This is a myriad of different entities.”

Jane beard, another board director, said she expects the facility to be used often.

“In my dream, there’d be a reason for everyone in the community to visit the facility probably once a week,” Beard said. 

Board members of Abilene Heritage Square have been working on this project for years, and now, they are bringing another update- which was touched on at a recent Kiwana’s club meeting.  

They have also discovered some secrets about this historic building, which used to be Abilene High School, and later, Lincoln Middle. 

“First of all,” Beard continued. “A lot of people now notice this as they drive by- the building is actually white!”

The building turned into a brown color because of 100 years of dust being blown onto it, and other West Texas elements. The building was also placed over an old well. 

“They built the 1923 building over the 1890 cistern,” Beard explained. 

During renovations, crews found found a carving on the roof that says “Foo Fajita,” who was a student at Abilene High. They discovered that he was one of two Japanese-Americans held as prisoners-of-war in Japan. He was held there for the entirety of the war.

Although this project will take about 50 million dollars to complete, Beard told KTAB/KRBC, “we are already at the 46-million-dollar level.” 

Board members hope to open the doors of Abilene Heritage Square to the public in 2024.

For more information about the future of the square, click here