The McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden is one of two performance venues used by Centrum. Both venues will get lighting upgrades through the nonprofit’s new grant. (Centrum)

The McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden is one of two performance venues used by Centrum. Both venues will get lighting upgrades through the nonprofit’s new grant. (Centrum)

Grant to Centrum to help fund lighting upgrades at performance venues

PORT TOWNSEND — Centrum, a nonprofit organization focused on the arts, plans lighting upgrades to its two venues at Fort Worden State Park after it was awarded a $182,000 grant.

Centrum was awarded the grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for LED lighting systems in the McCurdy Pavilion and Joseph F. Wheeler Theater.

The $182,000 grant will cover about half of the lighting upgrades for the two venues, according to Centrum Executive Director Robert Birman.

The entire project is estimated to cost $364,000 and will take about two years to complete, Birman said in a news release.

Despite the cost of the new LED systems and their installation, Birman hopes the more efficient systems will cut both energy consumption and cost.

“LED lighting will reduce power consumption from 96,000 to 15,000 watts — an 85 percent savings — while doubling luminosity capacity,” Birman said.

“The entire system will have a 20- to 30-year lifespan, and future LED lights can be replaced at low expense.”

The bulbs that now illuminate the McCurdy Pavilion and Wheeler Theater have a lifespan of about 300 hours, while the new LED bulbs can shine for 20,000, according to Birman.

The two venues host almost all of Centrum’s events along with a number of performances put on by other organizations and community groups.

The two venues can accommodate up to 1,500 people combined. The larger McCurdy Pavilion is used about 80 times per year, according to Birman, while the Wheeler Theater is in use at least 140 days per year.

Aside from the upgrade to the bulbs, the project also will upgrade the lighting systems to allow them to be moved remotely. The current systems require staff to manually test and aim lights before each performance using lifts and ladders.

The full project will upgrade the lighting fixtures, power packages, controls, data network packages, accessories, design, hanging fixtures, focusing systems, staff training, programming the systems and the purchase of the systems including shipping.

Centrum has done similar projects in the two performance venues before. The current systems in the McCurdy Pavilion and Wheeler Theater were installed by Centrum more than 20 years ago and then upgraded about 12 years ago.

This is also the second project Centrum has worked on with the help of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. In 2015, Centrum used funds from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, and matching funds from the Norcliff Foundation and First Federal Community Foundation, to build a new stage.

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust was created by the will of Melvin J. Murdock after his death in 1975. The trust provides grants to organizations that promote education and culture in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected]

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