Help Build "The Center"
The Bettie Steiger Community Enrichment Center and Business Incubator
104 S. Main Street Colfax, WA 99111
Contact: Kristie Kirkpatrick, email, 509-397-4366
What is The Center and when will it be complete?
The Center will be a hub for Whitman County featuring classes for all ages, gallery space, business incubation, tourism information, Colfax Chamber of Commerce, the sale of locally produced merchandise and/or other potential uses. The Center is the building adjacent to the Library. It is 4000 sq. feet and built in approximately 1937. While no date has been set for completion, officials are working diligently to secure funding and develop a timeline.
What will it cost?
Total project cost is estimated at $560,000. Of that, $110,000 has been secured with the building having been purchased for $80,000, a local grant obtained for $15,000 and a commitment from the Library Friends and Foundation for $15,000. Sincere appreciation goes out to the family of Bettie Steiger for their generous support of this project.
Who owns and manages The Center?
Whitman County Library owns the building, Whitman County Library Friends/Foundation will manage the finances and Kristie Kirkpatrick, WCLís director will initially manage the facility. It is expected that a Center coordinator will eventually assume day-to-day scheduling and operations of the facility.
Who else is involved?
The Colfax Arts Council has partnered to offer staffing and marketing skills in exchange for use of the facility.
The Colfax Chamber has committed to renting a space in the facility and helping staff open hours. The City of Colfax is very supportive and would likely assist in grant writing or other in-kind contributions.
Community Colleges of Spokane will begin Community Enrichment classes at the Colfax Library this spring and are willing to write letters of support for the center. In addition, I have letters of support from a number of artists, and Yoga instructors, interested in using the facility.
The City of Colfax is very much behind this project and could be utilized for letters of support. They donít own the facility but recognize its value and hope the Center will be a hub for growth.
The architectural firm of Hutchison and Maul have has begin redesigning the CEC in the hope of getting work later on. Initial plans and cost estimates are expected by late March.
Planning to date:
WSUís Rural Communities Design Initiative held community meetings and proposed 4 different uses for the facility, all related to community enrichment and/or business incubation.
CKA Architect Larry Kom completed a feasibility study for the Center, developing an estimated cost for renovation and reviewing the zoning regulations.
Tom Maul of Hutchison & Maul Architecture www.hutchmaul.com has created initial building designs and engineering studies.
Kristie Kirkpatrick, on behalf of the Library Friends/Foundation developed preliminary contracts with the Colfax Arts Council and Colfax Chamber of Commerce related to contributions from these organizations.
Whitman County Library adopted new meeting room policies to accommodate for-profit uses, as would be used in The Center. This model is working well, demonstrating the funding model will work for The Center.
What types of business incubation will occur at The Center?
The Center is considering a variety of business incubation options in the hope that entrepreneurs using the facility will develop a steady stream of business and reliable clientele before venturing into their own locations throughout the region.
Currently, Yoga, Dance, Martial Arts and Art instructors are interested in renting the Center. These uses are quite feasible considering the size limitations of the Center. Gallery space and sales space is also being considered for budding businesses to sell their artwork or other small sized items.
The Center may also house a fully equipped professional office available for use by appointment. The office would provide users with a desk, phone, fax machine, computer, high speed Internet, scanner, small conference table and other things needed for small business meetings and operations. With the limited broadband access throughout Whitman County, this Office will give prospective businesses the professional tools they need for meetings and correspondence.
The Center is also exploring the Maker Movement, along with grant opportunities and local support for sound and audio production, a 3D printing and other small fabrication equipment and uses, all valuable to potential businesses or workers.
How will The Center improve tourism?
The Centerís gift shop and gallery will attract shoppers and travelers and also hold special events like exhibits and artist receptions. In addition, the Center will house the Colfax Chamber and also, seek out and provide information from Pullman and our small towns. The Center will assist in developing a Travel Loop brochure that integrates the libraryís rural heritage collection with historic sites throughout the county. The Center will be a hub for county business and travel info!!
How will The Center enrich the lives of community members?
Besides a number of instructors that will be providing enrichment opportunities for a fee, a number of free community enrichment activities will be provided.
Whenever the facility is not in use by businesses, the Center will partner with Whitman County Library to offer free enrichment programming to the community. This will range from cultural and DIY programs to those that will help our area meet the challenges of the 21st century. Classes will range from computers and technology skills to interviewing, resumes and more.
How can I help?
Email Kristie Kirkpatrick today!