Port Angeles Hardwoods donates to Field Hall

Wood trim to be installed in downtown theater

PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles Hardwood has donated wood trim to the Field Arts & Events Hall, saving the facility some $80,000 in expenses.

“We like to be able to help out anywhere we can in the community,” said Jeremy Weist, manager of the Port Angeles Hardwood mill.

The trim is expected to be installed in March, one of the last finishing touches inside the theater before it opens July 29, according to Chris Fidler, project director.

After a pandemic-induced construction pause of 16 months, Field Hall saw dramatic increases in the cost of materials, as did construction projects nationwide, said Steve Raider-Ginsburg, executive director, and the most dramatic rise was the cost of casework and moldings in the 42,000-square-foot, $50 million structure at 219 N. Oak S. on the Port Angeles waterfront.

The design specifications call for hundreds of lineal feet of white oak trim throughout the building, and the lowest of seven bidders came in with a cost increase of 136 percent, primarily due to the cost of materials, Raider-Ginsburg said in a press release.

The low bid included a manufactured substitute for 309 specialty “fins” in the theater, which were both an architectural feature and a primary component of the acoustics.

“It was quickly determined, after consulting with general contractor, Mortensen Construction, and our architects, LMN Architects, that the offered substitution would not work for a variety of reasons,” said Brooke Taylor, board president.

“We asked what the subcontractor would charge to use the solid oak pieces called for in the specs. The answer was $80,000, which was simply not acceptable, so we started looking for local solutions as we have always done in the past.”

Using the substitute, a hollow veneer product would have degraded the acoustical quality of the theater, Fidler said.

Bill Hermann of Hermann Bros. suggested Port Angeles Hardwood, Raider-Ginsburg said.

“Without him introducing us, it wouldn’t have happened,” he said.

Port Angeles Hardwood, which for 17 years has specialized in milling alder and maple lumber for furniture and cabinet makers all over the country, agreed to hear a presentation from Field Hall leadership, Raider-Ginsburg said.

Weist told the group that bigleaf maple would make the best substitute for white oak and that it could be stained to match the other wood features in the building, Fidler said.

“He said they usually mill maple one day each month, and he was sure they could cut the pieces to meet our specs, and then deliver the pieces to a specialty woodworker for the final finish and staining.

“I finally had to ask the key question, how much will this cost?” Fidler continued.

He answered that it would be a donation, one Weist estimates at being worth about $80,000.

Said Raider-Ginsburg: “We were blown away by the generosity from PA Hardwood. The pieces have all been cut to our specs — 2½ inches thick and ranging from 42 inches to 74 inches in length — and are now being finished in Olympia.

“It is just another example of the incredible community support this transformational project has received since its inception.”

Said Weist, “We are honored to partner with Field Hall to complete this project, recognizing not only the benefit to the community at large but to all our workers and their families.”

Port Angeles Hardwood, which has 95 employees, has donated to many community projects, Weist said, citing a company ethic of generosity.

The projects include the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, the city pool, sports program and the BMX track among others, Weist said.

“As a bonus, we got a tour of their mill and it is fabulous,” Taylor said.

“I had no idea the great work they are doing and the contribution they are making to our local economy.”

Raider-Ginsburg said another way to help is to purchase naming rights for seats in the theater.

About 280 seats out of 500 are still available. Prices range from $2,500 to $10,000 and donors can spread their contribution out over five years.

“It’s been a major way to pay for the building,” Raider-Ginsburg said.

Field Hall also received $300,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds from the City of Port Angeles. A similar request from Clallam County is expected to be determined in 2023.

Once it opens, Field Hall also will include a conference and event center for groups from 20 to 400 people.

The original $9 million behest was from the late Donna M. Morris, who died in 2014 at the age of 67 and left the money “specifically for the design, construction and maintenance” of a performing arts center in Port Angeles. Dorothy Field contributed $1.43 million for the land.

A large variety of corporate donors, including First Fed, which gave $2 million, have contributed to the facility.

Eventually, the campus is to include a Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe cultural longhouse and the Marine Discovery Center, a Feiro Marine Life Center project with an aquarium and an aviary and replace its facility at City Pier.

For more information, see www.fieldhallevents.org.

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Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at lleach@peninsuladailynews.com.

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