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Celebrating history, future of cultural center

Cultural center construction — Renovated ballroom slated to be unveiled at Aug.15 fete, space will provide flexible venue for events


The story of the Chehalem Cultural Center is about flexibility. With each renovation CCC Director Rob Dailey said he wants to ensure the space can accommodate anything.

“Every space in the building we want to be used for purposes we haven’t even thought of yet,” Dailey said. “So we’re trying to build it that way just like the ballroom; it’s just a big, big space and can be used for anything from car shows, elegant weddings to expos.”

The ballroom is slated for completion Aug. 1 with a grand opening celebration set for Aug. 15.by: GARY ALLEN - Opening soon - Officials say the Chehalem Cultural Center ballroom renovations are nearly complete. To celebrate and unveil the new space there will be a grand opening celebration Aug. 15.

“It’s going to be a long sort of multi-faceted event,” he said.

With local bands performing from 3 to 9 p.m., Dailey hopes to get as many people as possible to attend.

“We picked Friday because during the summer going out for the weekend is pretty common,” he said. “So we picked Friday afternoon to get as many people to attend as possible.”

Along with live music, there will be food and drinks inside with food trucks outside, truly showcasing the flexibility of the space.

“We’re celebrating the building itself, the history and the people who’ve used the building throughout the decades,” Dailey said.

Keeping with the theme, the second half of the evening will resemble an alumni reunion. Gil Reynolds and Deep Blue will “take over” at 6:30 p.m. as the floor is cleared for dancing.

“It’ll be fun,” he said. “Also during the same time, we’ll be recording stories of Central School alumni in our music studios. Anyone who worked here or went to school here will be invited to tell their story. We’ll archive those and use them on our website and we might even invite them back for a more formalized recording session because we are starting a project of preserving Central School at the same time.”

It’s the same reason they used reclaimed wood from the building to finish the ballroom and refinished the floors in lieu of replacing them: Dailey wants to embrace the building’s past while creating a space for the community.

“The first event we have booked is during Old Fashioned Festival and it’s a school reunion. It’s very appropriate,” he said. “I expect a lot of school reunions, in fact I think we have two already booked. If you graduated from Newberg High School there’s a high probability you went to school here. Even if you went to a ‘rival’ school they have memories of this building.”

As for competing this phase of remodeling, Dailey is confident the space will be ready in time.

“Everything is on schedule aside from your normal day-to-day construction delays. I think we’re maybe behind a week from our original date, but that’s nothing,” he said. “Our contractors and our architects and all these guys who have worked on it have been great problem solvers. CPRD, who owns the building, have been unbelievable at this. They’re so professional and so competent and able to deal with these issues without costing us any more money.”

Which is appreciated, because original estimates put the complete building renovation at $7.2 million, but that was back in 2005.

“A lot has changed in the construction industry. We have already put in $5.5 million and I think it’ll be more than $2 million to finish,” Dailey said. “Part of the Aug. 15 event is to raise awareness of the capital campaign to finish the building.”

For more information about the Cultural Center or event details, visit www.chehalemculturalcenter.org.



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