The Wagner Education Center is Underway!

We are excited to announce that The Center for Wooden Boats has signed a contract with Schuchart Construction to build Phase I of the Wagner Education Center. In just a few weeks we will begin to see activity on the site, in Lake Union Park just to the southwest of the Boathouse.

We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. The Capital Campaign kicked off back in 2009, and we completed the first projects with our floating facility in 2011. Now we can get on with the big, signature project.

The Wagner Education Center will be a 9,200 square foot building with a large boatshop, a visitors center, classroom and administrative offices. Once we are moved into the new offices, the upstairs at the Boathouse will go back to being a library.

With the new building we will be able to do so many things:

  • Larger field trips. Right now we host over 4,000 kids per year, but only in small groups. The new classroom will double the size of groups we can host—that’s a whole lot of toy boats!
  • Longer term restoration projects. We have several historically important boats that we would like to get into the shop for a thorough restoration. Now, with the larger shop we can work on local favorites like the Thunderbird, the Mukilteo Boat and perhaps another gillnetter.
  • More volunteer opportunities. The bigger boatshop, with bigger projects means more opportunities for volunteers to learn and practice boatbuilding and restoration skills.
  • More classes. The large classroom and boatshop will give us space to hold larger, and more complex classes in boatbuilding, woodworking, sailmaking, ropework and other skills.
  • More exhibits. CWB will still not be a traditional museum, but we will have the chance to present more exhibits and information about our region’s rich maritime and small boat heritage.

The Wagner Education Center is coming at a very good time for CWB. We are just starting our 40th year as a non-profit corporation, and our programs are firing on all cylinders (or maybe their sails are full, or their oars are pulling together…). Our core programs have gone up over 20 percent in 2015, and we have a whole lot of new programs in store for you in 2016.

Phase I of the project will include construction of the entire structure, including interior framing and all of the utilities running through the slab. This fully enclosed building constitutes about 80 percent of the project cost. The remainder, in Phase II, consists of finishing the interior. We have all the funding for Phase I in hand or firmly committed, including allowances for contingencies and owner costs.

A generous grant of $300,000 from the 4Culture Building for Culture program gives us a solid start on Phase II, but to complete the entire project we will need raise up to $1.3 million in additional funds. The campaign committee will be working to line up as much of this new funding as possible in the first few months of 2016 so that we can continue into Phase II uninterrupted.

Our schedule calls for activity on the site right around the first of the year, with the heavy work, beginning with pile-driving, getting underway in mid-February. Phase I work wraps up in mid-September, and if we are able to continue uninterrupted through Phase II, we will have a finished building turned over to us in mid-October.

We hope to see you at the groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, January 19 at 10:00 a.m.

Thank you for supporting The Center for Wooden Boats, and for sharing in the excitement of our new building.




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2 thoughts on “The Wagner Education Center is Underway!”

  1. Kathleen Marshall says:

    Very exciting and named for the perfect person! I think we tend to lose the memory of how all started and what the property used to look like. Perhaps some gentle reminders could be shared to reopen the memories of all the ” oldies but goodies” and create some loud “WOWS” by those who are newer to CWB.

  2. Erin Hatch says:

    This is so exciting! Congrats to Betsy, Dick & Colleen, Eldon, Aislinn, Michael, and the many people who worked tirelessly to see this vision become a reality. This is proof that with hard work, dedication and generous donors, miracles can and do happen!

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