New vision for RAC unveiled

By Joe Smillie, Forum Editor


A design for a brick and steel building that could change colors as the new Rainforest Arts Center was received well by citizens who saw its unveiling last week.


The design for the $2.1 million building, by the NAC architecture firm of Seattle, was shown to Forks residents at a pair of sessions Friday; one in the afternoon at city hall and at the Homecoming football game at Forks High School.


City Attorney/planner Rod Fleck said the overwhelming majority of those who saw it reacted positively.


“It seems to be a design people really warmed up to,” Fleck said.


The outside of the 2,500-square-foot building is lit with LED lights which could change color for different events, Fleck said.


The building will be one-and-a-half stories tall. Inside will be primarily made of wood.


The northern portion of the building will be the theater, with offices the city would lease for businesses on the south side.


NAC will incorporate some suggestions from citizens who saw the initial unveiling. Those details will be in the final design proposal that will be shown at a joint meeting of the West End Business and Professionals Association and the Forks Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 23 in the Department of Natural Resources conference room, 411 Tillicum Lane.


The city council will review the design Oct. 28.


The building will replace the old Rainforest Arts Center, a former International Order of Odd Fellows lodge, which burned in October of last year.


The city received a $2.64 million settlement from its insurance company.


The new building will be placed on two lots, the former Odd Fellows lot and the adjacent lot at the corner of Forks Avenue and Division Street which was gifted to the city last Wednesday, Sept. 25, by the West Olympic Council of the Arts.


The arts council finalized purchase of the corner lot, last home to the Dazzled by Twilight store and originally the Olympic Pharmacy, the same day, according to Ellen Matheny, a board member of the Rainforest Players.


“Everything is done, signed, sealed and delivered,” Matheny said.


The West Olympic Council of the Arts closed its purchase of the lot at the corner from Alaska Financial Co. and deeded the property to the city.


Paul Pagac of Forks Avenue Real Estate, who brokered the sale, said Thursday, Sept. 26, the final purchase price was $60,000.


The lot originally was listed at $71,500.


The arts council in August offered $35,000 and received a counter of $71,000.


Matheny told the Forks Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday that an anonymous donor had given the arts council the final funding it needed to close the purchase.


Fleck said the city hopes to put construction of the building out for bids in early January, with construction slated to begin in April.


The goal is to have the new RAC open by April 2015.

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