Discussions continue for the Central Kitsap Community Campus — New performing arts center, library on the table

Central Stage Theatre of Kitsap was awarded a 15,000 grant last year to go toward remodeling its Silverdale facility, but the only improvement currently lined up is repainting the building’s interior next month.

“Major projects are on hold while we figure out what the community wants on that campus,” said Danielle Priest, president of the organization’s Board of Directors, on the uncertainty of whether or not a new performing arts center will be created on the Central Kitsap Community Campus.

With the completion and opening of the Haselwood Family YMCA on the campus in June, community leaders and members are looking toward the second phase of the Silverdale campus. The biggest question to answer is what facility will next accompany the YMCA.

Central Stage Theatre of Kitsap received a 15,000 grant from the C. Keith Birkenfeld Memorial Fund to go toward multiple projects including a new ticket booth, installing a retractable screen center stage and constructing a permanent orchestra pit, among other improvements. But before they can move forward with any of this, they need to be certain a new performing arts center — which they could be a part of — isn’t in the works for the community campus, Priest said.

“We do feel Central Kitsap is our home and we’re anxious to see where in Central Kitsap that will be,” Priest said. The organization will be going into its 26th year kicking off with the musical “South Pacific” in September.

Kitsap County Commissioner Josh Brown said a possibility that the current Silverdale Community Center, which houses Central Stage Theatre of Kitsap, could be demolished and a new performing arts center built — but it is dependent on the community’s support.  The community already showed support with raising $12 million for the YMCA and he believes a similar type of effort could be made for a new performing arts center or maybe a new library, Brown said.

“It’s a once in a generation opportunity to get all these people together,” Brown said.

The C. Keith Birkenfeld Memorial Trust has provided about $25,000 for a feasibility study for the county to determine what kind of support a new performing arts center would gather. This money is separate from the $15,000 grant Central Stage Theatre of Kitsap received.

The assessments will be conducted in the next six months for a consultant to determine if the community would support a new performing arts center, Brown said. He added that a similar study was performed for the YMCA as well.

While discussions on a new performing arts center brew, the possibility of a new library on the campus hasn’t been eliminated. Voters rejected a Kitsap Regional Library levy last fall, which had it been approved, money for a new Silverdale library would now be available.

Now Kitsap Regional Library is looking at other ways to make a new library for Silverdale a reality. The current Silverdale branch is about 4,900 square feet and if a new one was constructed on the campus, it would be about 10,000 square feet, said Jeff Brody, spokesman for the library district. Originally the hope was to build a 17,500 square-foot facility, but have scaled back after the levy failed.

Brody said Kitsap Regional Library will need to conduct its own feasibility study to determine if the community can raise the $6 million for a new library and that the study would cost about $30,000. The Silverdale Friends of the Library has $10,000 in available funds leaving $20,000 remaining — to be gathered through donations — to be able to move forward with the study.

Kitsap Regional Library is “seriously” figuring out how to make a new Silverdale library on the campus happen and that it will take time, Brody said. Ongoing discussions with Brown continue to determine how to go about the process, he said.

Not knowing exactly what will be included on the campus has been challenging for the Central Kitsap Community Campus Design Committee. The master plan and design standards draft for the campus is currently under review by the Advisory Committee and will be followed by the county Planning Commission hosting a public hearing to receive comments on the draft. The public hearing is tentatively scheduled for the end of September or early October, said Angie Silva, special projects planner for the County Commissioners Office and Design Committee member.

The committee has created a campus priority list including a library and performing arts center, but  many of them require public and private agencies to work together to meet funding requirements, Silva said.

For Central Stage Theatre of Kitsap, Priest doesn’t think reaching out to the community for monetary help is a bad idea but that the performing arts organization will first concentrate its efforts on grants.

“The community is a giving one but with the time frame being so closely to the ‘Y,’ I’m not sure they would be prepared,” she said.

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