The new 15,000 square foot office, health and multi-purpose building on the Klahoose reserve nears completion, with a proposed grand opening for late October.
Over $1.5 million dollars has poured into the Cortes Island community over the past year in wages, accommodations, and the purchase of services and building supplies. A wide spectrum of local sub trades has been involved with the project, the largest being the civil contract awarded to Reo McCoy, who led the ground clearing, excavation and blasting, installation of water, sewer and related underground services, and much more. Local electricians, laborers, carpenters, welders and others have also been involved.
Contrary to the many fabled rumors circulating the island community, neither Plutonic Power, General Electric nor any other company has contributed any money to the project which is being self-financed by the Klahoose First Nation. No tax dollars are likewise contributed to the building, although Health Canada was involved in the early 1990’s in a capital planning process for small bands, and subsequently made a small contribution toward the visioning and planning early on. It is expected the new building will cost approximately $7 million upon completion.
Ledcor Construction are the site construction management company, and their project team have fought weather, power outages, and transportation challenges since they rolled into site last August. We broke ground in mid-September, began rock forming and cement foundations in mid-November, and its been a whirlwind ever since.
Local sawmill operator Ron Wolda has milled over 200,000 board feet of western red cedar and douglas fir over the past year- much of this production has gone into the new building (in addition to wood used for community house repairs and renovations).
The building design, featuring heavy timber, curtain walls of glass, and structural in place wall and ceiling panels are complemented by the western red cedar, which is used for the random-width siding, soffit and fascia, all finish including the planed and kiln dried t&g Ron processed for the ceilings. A team of community members has worked in the community maintenance compound fabricating building and finish components for the new building, in addition to taking on several challenging projects. Think big when you visualize wood building components, from the 3 x 6 cedar decking, to the 6 x 16 stair treads to the 12 x 24 house posts that will grace the main ceremonial entrance on the bottom floor.
Three upper entrances mark the main, everyday use portals into the building, with a health wing entrance and waiting room for medical appointments, to the main reception area foyer that will feature cultural displays and more, and the third upper entrance leading into administration and chief and council offices. A deck circles the front – ocean side of the building.
The building also features a teaching space with a language lab, a full-size commercial stainless steel kitchen with a range, griddle, convection oven and shrink-wrap machine for salmon processing, a fully outfitted fitness centre, and meeting space for approximately 160 people. The facility will likely be available for rental to the public, as will the kitchen.
The project is entering the final finish stage, and public tours will continue to be available to islanders, although we can’t predict when the floor layers will have just laid the tile or what space is being painted, so please phone ahead to the band office if you’d like a quick tour of the building. This is an active construction site, and guests must first visit the safety office to don a hard hat and safety vest, and long pants and good safety boots are encouraged.
Please go to http://klahoose.com/ if you’d like to see pics of the new space…