Major fundraising milestone reached to expand the Dungeness River Audubon Center
Sequim, WA. The expansion of the Dungeness River Audubon Center is much closer, thanks to a grant of $1.5 million from a State Capital Budget Appropriation. The planned expansion includes a new access road and parking lot, addition of a new wing, and remodel of the current building located in the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s Railroad Bridge Park on the Dungeness River in Sequim.
The project is now at 90 percent of its total goal of approximately $3.6 million. A “Close the Gap” initiative has begun to raise the remaining funds through a combination of grants, fundraising events, and contributions from individual and businesses.
Funds raised by River Center volunteers will expand the current building to add a classroom, 150-seat community multipurpose room, commercial kitchen, restrooms, office space, gift shop, and concession stand. Remodeling the existing building will provide enhanced and larger exhibit space, children’s discovery corner, library, and bird-viewing area.
The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Council has purchased 4.5 acres of land east of the Center and has made significant commitments to build the new road, parking lot, and site improvements.
Recent grant funding also has been awarded by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and the First Federal Community Foundation.
Capital Campaign Chair Annette Hanson feels the achievement of the Legislature’s State Capital Budget appropriation is a validation of the importance of this project to our region. She says, “Representatives Steve Tharinger and Mike Chapman, and Senator Kevin Van De Wege really garnered support among other legislators. We are forever grateful for their leadership and representation, especially by Tharinger, Chair of the House Capital Budget Committee. Audubon Washington staff also provided great support and advice. I’m also thankful for the hard work by the campaign committee, staff, and partners.”
Tribal Chair and CEO W. Ron Allen says, “Our Tribe is very excited about this expansion of the Dungeness River Audubon Center. We have always felt that public education, including our cultural values of protecting and preserving the Dungeness River and the habitat it supports for the salmon, birds, and wildlife, is a critical part of building a deep appreciation of the connectivity of all life. The exhibit and classroom will be a new asset for our community.”
Center Director Powell Jones explains, “Expanding the Center will enhance our programing by increasing the facility’s capacity for visitors to learn about and connect with nature, attend meetings, or relax without any conflicts for space. As an organization we are excited to explore and develop more programming not only for our local community but also for visitors to our area.”
The first “Close the Gap” event is the Dungeness River Audubon Center Charity Golf Tournament on June 15. The four-person scramble golf tournament will be held at The Cedars at Dungeness Golf Course. Cost is $100 per player which includes prizes and lunch. All proceeds go to the Center’s capital campaign. To sign up, contact The Cedars at Dungeness Pro Shop at 360-582-4900.
Next Steps and Project Details
Construction of a new entry road and parking lot off Hendrickson Road will begin this summer. Work on detailed architectural plans for the new building wing and remodel of the existing building is underway. Construction of the new wing will begin as soon as the funding goal is complete.
The building expansion and remodel of the existing Dungeness River Audubon Centerwill improve the learning environment, serve more people, create a safer and more visible entry, and increase efficiency for staff and volunteers.
The project kicked off publicly on June 22, 2018 with a celebration at the proposed new entrance to Railroad Bridge Park. The project also includes a parking lot, and improved access to the Olympic Discovery Trail. This project will transform the Center into a regionally important learning center.
The current 1,600 square foot building is too small for the Center’s educational programs and extensive exhibits. Exhibits must often be moved to accommodate activities. Classes are frequently standing room only, and there is no dedicated space for community meetings. The main room must be used simultaneously by visitors, community meeting participants, and classes, interfering with everyone’s experience.
About the Dungeness River Audubon Center
Incorporated in 1994, the River Center has become a unique resource for educational activities that connect people with nature. It is run by three partner organizations: Dungeness River Audubon Center (DRAC), the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society (OPAS).
How to Contribute
Close the Gap campaign volunteers are looking for groups interested in hearing more about the project. Contact Capital Campaign Chair Annette Hanson at 360-670-6774.