One of the 20 proposed glamping sites at Fort Worden has a view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Whidbey Island. The others are scattered among the trees on the northern edge of the Lifelong Learning Center grounds. (Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News)

One of the 20 proposed glamping sites at Fort Worden has a view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Whidbey Island. The others are scattered among the trees on the northern edge of the Lifelong Learning Center grounds. (Jeannie McMacken/Peninsula Daily News)

‘Glamping’ at Fort Worden may be delayed

Project could miss summer target date

PORT TOWNSEND — Summer glamping at Fort Worden could be delayed because of a hold-up in infrastructure work that must be completed on the 5-acre site designated for the 19 luxury-alternative accommodations.

David Robison, executive director of the Fort Worden Public Development Authority (PDA), told the board of directors Wednesday that the $650,000 project is running behind schedule.

Glamping is camping but with some luxuries.

“There have been some delays in getting approvals from State Parks in terms of doing some of the clearing and the cultural resource survey, as well as getting the infrastructure plans in place — the water, sewer and electric,” Robison said.

He said 15 of the 19 structures on the northern edge of the Life-Long Learning Center’s campus will feature full bathrooms, including toilet, shower and sink.

In addition the area will offer four rustic tents without bathrooms, and one central gathering structure with bathrooms.

Storage and meeting space will be offered along with concierge service.

The project should take three months to complete if all is on track, he said.

“We are going to expedite the public bid process to put in the infrastructure,” Robison said.

“If we can’t get a contractor to commit to having it done by June, we can’t get it all installed for this season.”

It could be that the project will be delayed even though all the infrastructure is in because of cash flow.

“If the contractor can get all the infrastructure in, we’ll probably still go ahead with that phase because it’s easier to do when it’s dry,” Robison said.

In the worst-case scenario, the project would be delayed until as late as next January. That would impact revenues.

The tent sites are all former barrack building sites. When the World War II buildings were decommissioned, water and sewer was abandoned. Robison said it needs to be replaced.

“That’s a major significant part of the $650,000 budget,” he said. “We had to get that permitted and go out for public bids. But we were delayed with the winter storm, flu season and the holidays.

“We are behind the eight ball and still waiting for a complete infrastructure plan to get it permitted by the city and advertised to get bids,” Robison said.

“We want a bid process of about five weeks. If we can shorten that timeline and get qualified contractors to bid on it, we could have it completed by June 1.”

He said in the meantime his facilities crew will work on trails, site development, building the platforms and erecting tents.

“Until we get back the bids, we won’t know whether we can meet the timeline. It’s really tight. We are going to do our best.”

The board approved the $136,850 bid of tent manufacturer Rainier Industries of Tukwila for 15 tents, but it delayed delivery of the tents until the timeline is finalized.

Robison is confident that visitors will want to come to Fort Worden to try something new.

“This is a really desirable amenity for the programs offered here and for the magnificent place that’s Fort Worden,” he said.

“It expands our portfolio of what we can offer here. We don’t have one-bedroom units like a regular resort property. This gives us a different product for those who want a single room. It benefits our onsite partners, and travelers will find them a desirable place to stay.

The estimated overnight rate for Fort Worden’s glamping tents will be between $169 and $189 per site.

“Glamping demands a pretty high rate,” Robison said. “We are making sure that we are in line with State Parks average daily rate.”

________

Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at jmcmacken@peninsuladailynews.com.

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