Old Boats Breaking New Ground

The dream is coming to life.

The Lake Union home of the Center for Wooden Boats is about to undertake an unprecedented expansion.  The formal groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Tuesday, January 19, at 10:00 am.


Schuchart Construction has signed on to build Phase I of the Dick and Colleen Wagner Education Center. Olson Kundig designed the beautiful new structure.

“When Colleen and I began to rent small wooden boats to our friends and neighbors in 1967 we never imagined that we would grow that traditional livery into a major cultural institution,” said Dick Wagner, Founding Director of CWB. “This new building will allow us to reach far more people with hands-on learning and experiential activities. We will be able to change even more lives, one boat at a time.”

The CWB field trip program currently was able to serve around 4,000 students per year, serving small groups. The new Education Center will host larger groups and be able to celebrate and educate in an much broader way.

The 9,200 square foot Wagner Education Center (WEC)  provides for the expansion of …

  • Field trip groups
  • After school programs
  • Additional space for the CWB’s Job Skills Crew
  • Additional Drop-in programs for young people

image006The new boat shop will be able to accommodate larger and longer-term restoration projects. CWB’s current boatshop will continue to house regular maintenance of the CWB program fleet, while the WEC boatshop will allow the organization’s professional boatwrights and volunteers to undertake more complex projects.

Quotes about the ‘WEC’…

“We have a number of historically important boats waiting for restoration,” said Michael Luis, CWB Executive Director, “and we look forward to getting them into the new shop.”

“We have assembled a first rate team for this project,” said Jim Duncan, co-chair of the CWB Capital Campaign Committee. “Olson Kundig has designed a straightforward two story, wood clad, steel frame, building that fits the history and needs of CWB and reflects the boat building traditions of the Northwest. Schuchart is known for its craftsmanship on highly visible and sustainable buildings.”

“The WEC will be a major asset for the South Lake Union neighborhood as well as for the whole region,” said Duncan, “We are so excited to get underway with Phase I of the construction. We are confident that generous community members will step forward in the next few months to help finalize the funding for Phase II, which will allow us to complete all the interior spaces and to install a roof-mounted solar power system.”image001

Major financial contributors to the project include; Washington State Historical Society, The Norcliffe Foundation, King County 4Culture, The Seattle Parks Foundation, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the Keith Birkenfeld Memorial Trust, Foss Maritime Company and The Lake Union Dry Dock Company.

We can’t wait to follow the progress and ultimately visit and enjoy the new additions. Congratulations to the Center for Wooden Boats!

For more information and to follow the progress click on any of the images to go directly to the Center for Wooden Boat’s website or email us at … editor@cruisignw.com

*All of the information above originated from a CWB.org press release.

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