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Performing arts center takes the stage

With any luck at all, fundraising for a new performing arts center in Silverdale will be underway within months.

“2014 is going to be our year,” said Irene Bowling. Bowling is part of a group that is working to build the West Sound Performing Arts Center. “Right now we don’t have any architectural concepts or a good idea of what the project will cost. But within the first few months of the coming year, we will  have those things ready to show the public.”

The performing art center was one of two topics discussed at a meeting of the Central Kitsap Community Council (CKCC) last week. The council is an advisory group to the Kitsap County commissioners. Both a performing arts center and a proposal new library in Silverdale were detailed to a few dozen residents who attended the meeting.

Bowling, a well-known piano teacher in Kitsap County, has been actively seeking a performing arts center for the Central Kitsap area since a ballot measure for a center was passed in 1994.

“The $6 million levy was passed through the Central Kitsap School District, but somehow, the money was used for other things and the performing arts center never got built.”

What’s now being looked at is a center that would be build using grants and money given by foundations. There would need to be a capital campaign to help fund the project.

But the location for it is proposed to be on community campus in Silverdale, on property that the county owns. Currently the campus houses the YMCA, a community center known as the CSTOCK building, and a Kitsap County Sheriff’s precinct office.

“We need something much bigger than what is there now (the CSTOCK building),” Bowling said. “Something that could handle the Bremerton Symphony and traveling theater and musical groups that perform things like ‘The Lion King.’ Even the high schools around the area don’t have what they need.”

She said Central Kitsap High and Klahowya just have small auditoriums and Olympic High has no performance stage.

“This would be a regional thing,” she said. “We could draw the Pacific Northwest Ballet when they tour. There’s really nothing of the size needed for those types of performances north of Tacoma on the (Kitsap) peninsula.”

While she’s not certain what size auditorium will be chosen, it would need to be in the realm of 900 seats and would need specialized loading dock and stage to work for the larger traveling performers. She thinks there would also be a smaller hall for rehearsals and smaller group acts.

The other part of the discussion at the CKCC’s meeting was about a new library to serve Silverdale. The current library is in Old Town and is about 4,800 square feet in size. Kitsap Regional Libraries is looking for something about 8,000 to 10,000 square feet in space.

After a library levy failed a public vote in 2010, the district hired a consultant in 2012 to determine if there was support for a new library. When it was shown that there wasn’t the public support to fund a new library, the Silverdale Library continued at its smaller size. But in the past six months a group has been working to determine if the support is there now for a new library.

Jeff Brody, Kitsap Regional Library’s community relations director, said the community campus is one of a handful of places that is under consideration for a new library.

Other locations may be on Port of Silverdale property in Old Town and private property locations that he wasn’t able to openly discuss.

Brody said he doesn’t think the performing arts center and the library would be in the same building, but it is possible that both could be located on the community campus.

“Our building timeline doesn’t necessarily coincide with there’s, as they are in the very early stages of creating a vision for their facility,” he said. “We have expressed our willingness to talk with the performing arts center group and explore possible collaboration.”

County Commissioner Josh Brown said he sees room on the campus for both facilities. He thinks the CSTOCK building can be torn down and the sheriff’s precinct office can be moved, thus creating space for two new facilities.

Bowling, too, thinks the space is there for both.

“The property has a slope to it and we’re talking about something with multiple floors,” she said. “The community campus has the space for both buildings, if that’s the location that the library determines is best for them.”

Parking isn’t expected to be a problem, either, because peak times for the performing arts center and the library would be at different times of the day, officials of both projects said.

If it is determined that there is support for a fund-raising campaign for a new library, a site will be decided prior to that campaign beginning, Brody said.

He anticipates public meetings to talk about a new Silverdale Library will begin in  early 2014.

 

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