NEBRASKA CITY – A half of a million dollar donation from the Wirth Foundation and the trade skills of Pella Corporation are bringing new light to the Veterans Memorial Building in Nebraska City.

On Wednesday, Jerry Murley of Pella Corporation led a group of 52 interns through the renovation project.

Murley: “They are very impressed with the scope of the building and they were really moved, as I am, about Ted, the guy that started the project and moving it, telling his story and how he got going on this. They are very interested  about when it is going to get done because they all like to see it in full completion.”

The building was erected 90 years ago in honor of World War I veterans, but was closed in 2007 after the World of the Aging meal program was asked to move to a nearby facility. More than a decade had passed when Ted Beilman and his wife, Gloria Glover, moved to Nebraska  City. Before his death this winter, Beilman said it did not sit right with him to see the building closed and what it stood for sidelined.

Beilman asked the  Wirth Foundation for a grant to replace 122 windows and 11 doors.

Murley: “The biggest thing is just the community involvement, just the drive behind to put the effort and the money to raise to do this job. They see a lot of these buildings and the numbers scare people and they don’t have the community to back them where this one, not a bit of hesitation.”

Wes True with Pella Windows said the tour is a good way to promote pursuit of the trades among young people and to pass history on to the next generation.

True: “Not only the history behind the facility, but the story and the valor and everything that goes into the Memorial Building down here in Nebraska City building. It’s an amazing project to be a part of.”

He said the exterior window grids match the 1900s construction and the interior stains match the woodwork inside.

True: “With the beauty of the old brick and when you put newer products on the exterior  you can bring that building right back to what it looked like in the 1920s. The fortunate thing we have, when you start to remove different ceilings and different structures and stuff, you know, that is boarded up and painted over, it allows that natural light to come in, but it also allows the efficiency with dual-paned windows.”

Crews began replacing the biggest window on Wednesday.

Murley: “A lot more product is being delivered, some delivered yesterday and more coming next week. We’re getting a lot of framing done on the inside, so here in the next eight to 10 days this building is going to take a major transformation. By the end of the month it’s going to look like a whole new, brand new building.”

Jim Kuhn and Brad Moyer guided tours of the building, which also has an elevator project in its near future.