The ground was broken Sept. 5 in Seabeck in anticipation of the new Pines building for the Seabeck Conference Center.
The new construction project boasts a budget of $3 million and will be built by Kitsap firms. FPH Construction will serve as general contractor for the project. The new structure will feature 20 rooms, each fully accessible with a private bath and one to three beds. The 15,600 square foot building is expected to be completed in May 2020.
“Much like old Pines over a half-century ago, new Pines will change our campus forever,” said Chuck Kraining, executive director of the Seabeck Conference Center. “The new building we start here today will be state of the art, energy-efficient and incredibly comfortable. These buildings will help make Seabeck viable into our second century of service. We hope you enjoy them.”
Some of the groups that the Seabeck Conference Center hosts include Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind, The Celtic Arts Foundation Winter School, Skandia Folkdance Society, and many other schools and government agencies, the release states.
The lumber mill town of Seabeck was formed in 1856. An accident in 1886 caused the mills to burn, resulting in the mill owners relocating up the Hood Canal. The area soon became a ghost town and sat empty for almost 30 years until Laurence Colman purchased the lands and buildings. One year later, the Seabeck Conference Center hosted its first guest on June 14, 1915.
Today, the conference center employs roughly 35 year-round employees and up to 40 summer-only workers. The center’s annual budget for 2019 is just over $2 million.
“The recent upgrades to the campus have led to record levels of usage each of the last three years,” reads a press release from the center. “We primarily draw from Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. We anticipate the new Pines project will only increase usage and opportunities.”
Rep. Derek Kilmer was on hand to part take in the groundbreaking ceremony and tweeted about the project shortly after.
“What a great morning to be in Seabeck,” Kilmer’s tweet said. “Thrilled to be at the Seabeck Conference Center for the groundbreaking of the Pines Project. The Conference Center is a pillar of the community and it was an honor to be there to usher in the beginning of this new chapter.”