PORT TOWNSEND, WASH.— Plans to renovate Fort Worden’s historic Quartermaster Storehouse received a tremendous boost this week with the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust awarding $500,000 to the Fort Worden Public Development Authority (PDA) for the project and $154,000 to Radio Port Townsend (KPTZ 91.9FM) to complete construction of its new station within the building.
“The Murdock Charitable Trust is a highly competitive and highly esteemed foundation,” said PDA Executive Director Dave Robison. “To have received such a generous and distinguished gift is a testament to the vibrancy of the Fort Worden community and its mission to provide life-changing, creative programming.”
The Quartermaster Storehouse (Building 305) is the cornerstone of Makers Square, a new creative district at Fort Worden where aspiring and master artists, craftsman, and makers can create, collaborate, educate, and connect with new audiences. KPTZ will be the anchor tenant in Building 305, and the Trust’s grant caps that nonprofit’s ambitious capital campaign.
“Applying to Murdock was rigorous and exacting, and awards are given based on thorough evaluation of an applicant’s organizational strength,” KPTZ Board President Robert Ambrose said. “It’s a prestigious endorsement of our organization and the station’s future goals.”
KPTZ is building its state-of-the-art facility in the basement of Building 305, more than doubling the available space in its current schoolroom portable studios at Mountain View Commons. Two years ago, the station was informed that it would need to vacate the Mountain View campus for its parking lot redesign, and shortly after entered into negotiations with the PDA to move to Fort Worden.
“Ours is a once-in-a-generation project to build a new home for KPTZ, and we’ve been extraordinarily successful thanks to the dedication of our volunteer staff and generosity of the community,” Ambrose said. “Receiving this grant from Murdock ensures that all funds necessary are available to construct and equip the new station.”
Established in 1975, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust is dedicated to serving individuals, families and communities across the Pacific Northwest by providing grants and enrichment programs to organizations that strengthen the region’s educational, social, spiritual and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways.
The awards come only weeks after the PDA received a $500,000 award from the National Park Service’s Save America’s Treasures program. To date, the PDA has raised more than $12.1 million—90% of the $13.4 million campaign goal—through federal and state funding sources and philanthropic gifts.
Construction on Phase I of the Makers Square project began in July 2019 and will be completed by next summer. It consists of the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of three historic buildings—305, 308, and 324— and will provide 25,000 sq. ft. of new programmatic space, capable of supporting multidisciplinary programming.
Building 305 itself will offer over 15,000 sq. ft. of new space. Besides housing KPTZ’s state-of-the-art studios in its basement, its main floor will feature two classrooms and two large studios, an extended gallery space, and a reception area. The second floor will provide flexible spaces for artists, nonprofit organizations, and creative businesses that add to the vitality of Fort Worden through artist residencies, classes, exhibitions, and workshops.
KPTZ will occupy over 2,200 sq. ft. for its 24/7 broadcast operations. Engineering upgrades and soundproofed studios will improve broadcast quality, expand live music and theatrical broadcasts from the new station’s dedicated performance studio, expand local daily news programming, and strengthen collaborations with artistic and educational groups at Fort Worden.
Buildings 308 and 324, located to the north and west of Building 305, were primarily used for bulk storage and as warehouses. Renovated, Building 308 will offer over 2,500 sq. ft. divided into two large studios, while Building 324 will offer over 3,500 sq. ft., divided into four studios plus an additional gallery space.
“Makers Square Phase II will focus on site improvements to balance pedestrian and vehicle traffic surrounding the facilities, and to build visual and physical connections between the creative, interpretive spaces and the public. Construction on the second phase will begin when the PDA’s capital campaign is complete,” said Robison.
Opening in 2020, Makers Square will link and expand capabilities for creative and artistic organizations throughout the region to work in iconic historical buildings in a community that focuses on the value of art and culture. Makers Square expands the creative capabilities of the region and fulfills the original goals behind the restoration of Fort Worden.