BMAC groundbreaking

After a new logo reveal, Blue Mountain Action Council officials and community members pose with shovels for a “groundbreaking” ceremony at the new BMAC facility this morning along Second Avenue.

A Second Avenue business complex is on its way to becoming the new permanent home of Blue Mountain Action Council.

Construction crews have gutted the interior of the building at the gateway to downtown in preparation for its transition. Today marks the start of its rebuild as BMAC’s Community Service Center.

Blue Mountain Action Council officials, partners and dignitaries dug their shovels in this morning for a ceremonial groundbreaking that launches what’s expected to be a six-month construction process from general contractor Jackson Contractor Group.

Work officially begins Monday, said Blue Mountain Action Council Executive Director Kathy Covey.

This morning’s 8:30 a.m. ceremony offered a peek into the space, a chance to publicly thank the legislators and donors who have made the project financially feasible, unveil a new logo for the nonprofit, and launch a final push to complete fundraising.

The 11,000-square-foot building in the 200 block of North Second Avenue was acquired by BMAC in March 2018.

It was purchased with a $1.4 million loan, as part of a roughly $3.7 million total project.

Major funding has included $1.75 million from the state capital budget. Covey lauded 16th district legislators, Sen. Maureen Walsh, R-College Place, and Rep. Bill Jenkin, R-Prosser, for their advocacy.

Fundraising from community groups and residents to date has raised about $422,000.

“Our goal to be able to do what we need to do with the building is $600,000,” Covey said. “Right now it’s almost a house for us, and we just need to make it a home by getting these last few dollars.”

The project positions BMAC with central headquarters, easily accessible to those who use its services, including job training, energy assistance, food distribution, minor home repair, special needs housing, housing for homeless families, legal assistance, asset building, adult literacy, Long Term Care Ombudsman, weatherization, lead paint abatement, Commitment to Community, AmeriCorps and Supportive Services to Veteran Families.

When the project is done, BMAC will move from its current spot at Kelly Place.

This project will not affect the food distribution services through the Food Bank at 921 Cherry St. The Housing Services Division at that location will also remain in place.

The new spot will add much needed space for the 27 or so of BMAC’s 53 employees who don’t have their own conference room space at the current spot for meetings.

Covey said the vision for the new building includes work pods and a 60-person conference room that will also be available for use by other nonprofit groups.

“I think we’re going to be much more functional,” Covey said.

This morning’s event offered a chance to thank contributors who have made it all possible. Business contributions from operations, including Banner Bank and Pacific Power, have donated $36,000 toward the cause. Individual donations from private residents total about $30,000. A massive portion has come from foundations and trusts. That includes Premera, $75,000; Sherwood Trust, $150,000; Blue Mountain Community Foundation, $50,000; Providence Health Services, $15,000; Stubblefield Trust, $25,000; Mary Garner Esary Trust, $10,500; and $15,000 from the Wildhorse Foundation through the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

“I have great confidence we will meet and maybe even exceed our goal,” Covey said. “If we exceed our goal we’ll be able to put some things back on the table that have been taken off. We’d love to get way beyond our goal to be able to repave the parking lot.”

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322.