Monday, January 14, 2008

We get a permanent home.....

We're busy working on our new permanent home. We've signed a memorandum of understanding with Fort Worden to use two rooms in the Old Power House (Building 315). This is a big solid building built of reinforced concrete (the walls are 18" thick) that used to contain the boilers and generators to power Fort Worden. The boilers and generators were stripped out a long time ago. Most recently the space has been used for storage and as the paint shop for the park.

There is a 1300 sq ft room that we intend to use as a benchroom / classroom. This is the room we get first. The other room is about 900 sq ft and this will be our machine shop - we expect to get this space later in the year.

We're about to submit a conditional use permit with the City of Port Townsend - this includes a public comment period - we hope to have it approved in 4-6 weeks. We're also applying for a building permit to make changes to the building - we're planning to add doors inside the big steel doors, add a dropped ceiling (to make the space warmer and a lot less noisy) and to bring the bathroom and access to the building up to ADA compliance.

We share the building with a recording studio so we'll also be working on minimizing sound and vibration transmission.

Our current guess is that we'll be open in early March to start teaching. Until we get the machine shop open the focus of our curriculum will be on working with hand tools and projects that can be done using portable power tools. We've outlined courses on making shaker benches, end tables, a course on cabinetmaking in a home shop and more. We're also talking to some folks from the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe about teaching carving knife making, carving and drum making courses. If you want to be notified when course schedule becomes available please sign up on our website.

Before I close this post I want to thank Kate Burke and Steve Shivley from Fort Worden for the terrific support and encouragement they have given us: giving us access the Old Power House and helping us through the partner review. We're proud to be the latest recruits to the Life Long Learning Centre at the Fort.

I also want to acknowledge the advice and support of Russ Hendricks (the Fort's Building Maintenance Manager) and his crew in helping us get the space ready

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