Help Build "The Center"

The Center  

The Bettie Steiger Community Enrichment Center and Business Incubator
104 S. Main Street Colfax, WA 99111
4000 sq. ft, built approx 1937
Contact: Kristie Kirkpatrick,, 509-397-4366

 What is the Center and when will it be complete?

The Center will be the educational, social, business and cultural 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.  While no date has been set for completion, officials are currently working diligently to secure funding.

 What will it cost?

Total project cost is estimated at $504,450. Of that, $161,719 has been secured with the building having been purchased for $80,000, a local economic development grant investing $13,000, additional commitments from the Library Friends/Foundation, and most recently an $1100 donation from Athenaeum Club of Colfax, $10,000 from The Avista Foundation and $15,000 from Don Steiger.

The Friends of Whitman County Library and Library Director Kristie Kirkpatrick are diligently applying for grants and searching for funding sources

 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 Downtown Association has listed The Center as one of its key projects, working diligently for its completion and also the revitalization of Colfaxís historic downtown. 

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.

 Tom Maul Architecture and Design has created an attractive and very usable facility plan.

 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.

 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 growing in popularity, 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 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?

The Center will be the hub of activity for Colfax for those seeking educational, cultural or social engagement. The Center will be the place for business startups, travelers, artists and more. There will be free opportunities as well as services for a fee. Free classes 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!