QUILCENE — Like a character in a fairy tale, the Quilcene Community Center is undergoing a transformation from ordinary to beautiful, inside and out.
The transformation is being performed by local volunteers and members of the Boeing Bluebills, retired Boeing employees who take on construction projects as community service.
Working Tuesdays and Fridays since July, the construction crew has completed the portico over the entrance, installed four sets of French doors on the side facing the tennis courts, and is now starting on a deck that will be used for outdoor seating and barbecues.
“We’ve been busy,” said Bob Rosen, center manager, as he gave a tour of the site at 294952 U.S. Highway 101 in Quilcene on Tuesday.
When he was hired last year, Rosen set the goal of completing a long-overdue renovation of the boxy, utilitarian building — which was built in the mid-1950s and last remodeled in 1976 — to make it more attractive.
The projected cost of the entire project is $30,000.
Money has come from community fundraising — including donations from the Rotary Club of East Jefferson County, the Quilcene Lions, the Brinnon Emerald City Alliance and private citizens — as well as Olympic Community Action Programs, Jefferson County and a grant from the Vanguard Foundation, plus the amount budgeted for center’s capital improvements for the past two years.
The Bluebills, and others, are donating labor, and the architect, Ed Klein of Quilcene, donated his services.
The covered entrance portico, shake siding and the deck addition are part of phase 1 of a three-part renovation.
Interior remodeling is under way, including removing old paneling in the main meeting room.
Painting, carpeting and installation of a commercial kitchen are part of the interior remodeling phase, Rosen said.
When that is completed, the final phase, building an outdoor amphitheater for concerts and plays, will start.
“There is a lot of interest in that,” Rosen said.
He also held a community brainstorming session to ask people what kinds of programs they wanted the center to offer.
One suggestion, to hold bingo games at the center, is close to realization — the center has obtained a bingo license, and the Port Hadlock VFW post has donated electronic bingo equipment, Rosen said.
People are already calling to ask when bingo games will begin.
“The Quilcene Lions Club will start running it as soon as the construction is completed,” he said. “That will be in late spring, early summer.”
The finishing touch on the outside will be an entryway of brick pavers inscribed with the names of people who contributed to the building fund.
Tom Davis, president of Mutual Materials in Bellevue, donated the 2,976 bricks needed for the project, Rosen said, and a Tacoma company, Kenadar, is doing the engraving at a discount.
“The first 250 are being engraved as we speak,” Rosen said.
For their dedication, Quicene residents Jerry Tingelstad and Bob Bergeron were named volunteers of the year for laboring every work day — twice a week.
Ed Klein, the architect who designed the project, is also regularly on site to monitor progress.
Community members drop off snacks and pastries for the workers.
“Sharon McLane came and made pastries every single day for the first two-thirds of the project,” Rosen said.
Also working on the project is Sky Xzerin, of Brinnon, who is putting in 20 hours a week as part of a jobs placement assignment.
“It’s fantastic,” Xzerin said. “I love what they’re doing and love being a part of it.”
The community center already is used a meeting place for the local garden club, the pinochle club and the 4-H after school program.
Meals on Wheels and the food bank operate there one day a week, Rosen said, and the computer center is always occupied.
But with the renovation progressing, people are starting to see the center in a different light.
“After seeing what we’re doing, someone booked a wedding reception,” Rosen said.
For more information, or to order an engraved brick for the entry, go to http://www2.olycap.org/index.php?pr=HP-QCCremodel, http://quilcenecommunity.blogspot.com/ or phone Rosen at 360-765-3321.
Jennifer Jackson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.