Teenagers have a room to call their own, and though it's in the basement of a historic building that houses a library, they can talk and make about as much noise as they want.
According to legend and lore in Carnegie, the space is haunted by the ghosts of Civil War soldiers, but that just adds to the cachet of the teen room in the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall.
The room was designed and renovated by Sam Wilcox, 16, of Boy Scout Troop 831 Carnegie. It was the community service project that earned him his Eagle Scout Award -- the highest advancement award the Boy Scouts offer to scouts. Helping with the hands-on work was a team of 13 people, including his parents, Bridget VanDorn and Michael Wilcox of Carnegie.
The basement room, once used as a dance studio, had been vacant for quite a while. Sam pitched the idea to the library staff of creating a teen room.
Sam and his team volunteers patched drywall, painted the floor brown and painted the ceiling and walls a cream color.
How did a junior at Carlynton High School know how to paint and patch drywall?
"I learned everything from my mom and dad," Sam said. The family spent years renovating their large, rambling old house on Beechwood Avenue, just down the street from the library.
He also erected a blackboard that takes up most of one wall in the Teen Room and helped assemble furniture, which was donated. The furnishings include two wooden theater seats installed in the Music Hall more than 100 years ago.
The library board funded the project with a grant, Ms. VanDorn said, so Sam didn't have to do any fundraising.
Since he was a small child, Sam and his brothers (Nate, 13, and Gabe, 12) have always spent a lot of time in the library, so the Eagle Scout project was a natural.
The total project took 129 1/2 hours, said Sam, who was required by the Boy Scouts to keep a binder with before and after pictures, design plans and other details.
In addition to taking classes at the high school, Sam studies culinary arts at Parkway West Career Technology Center. He has been a Scouts patrol leader for two years, and is a member of his high school's bowling team.
His official Eagle Scout ceremony was Nov. 10 at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Carnegie. The actual work at the library was done in the summer of 2011, and the grand opening of the teen room was during the library open house in November 2011.
Uses for the Teen Room are still evolving, but it's off to a good start, said library director Erin Tipping, On Monday nights, a group meets there to play Minecraft. The Bishop Canevin High School Book Club meets there regularly and had a Christmas party there last year.
"Within reason, teens can make as much noise as they want down there," Ms. Tipping said. "And they're not bothered at all by the stories of people who say they have seen ghosts in the library basement, including Civil War soldiers."
Linda Wilson Fuoco: email@example.com or 412-722-0087.