José Bazán has designed residential and public structures across Washington. A project took him back to where he grew up.
Bazan attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Granger Historical Society Museum he designed. It will also be built at 223 Second Ave., next to NCEC’s KDNA Radio/Sea Mar Community Center, which he designed.
“This is a great example of the positive things that can happen when people put their hearts and minds together and work hard,” said Bazán, co-founder of Seattle-based Bazán Architects and a 1973 graduate of Granger High School.
“It’s such a positive statement for the community and I’m so grateful they asked me to design this building,” he added.
Bazán joined more than two dozen people at a brief groundbreaking ceremony outside and a reception inside the community centre. A large number of people working in various offices in the building joined the historic community members, public officials and citizens group celebrating the ceremonial launch of the long-sought project.
The new museum will be approximately 3,800 square feet. Construction committee chair Jon Klarich said the current area of a former church at 508 Sunnyside Ave. is approximately 900 square feet. Members hope to lay the groundwork for the new building, which will be located next to the community center’s rear parking lot in the first week of December.
“This is a nine to 12 month project; it depends on the weather,” said Bazán, who will oversee the project.
The museum will be built on land owned by Sea Mar Community Health Centers, a community-based organization that provides medical and other services to diverse communities. Jon Klarich, chairman of the history association’s building committee, said Sea Mar owns the adjacent community center and will also own the new museum building.
“They give us a 50-year long-term lease with slightly different requirements for two 25-year terms,” he said. “There is almost no cost for the first 25 years, we will run the museum, do the internet and cleaning. We will add additional services in the second 25 years.”
Klarich said that as another important contribution to the project, Sea Mar has also agreed to cover the construction costs gap between what the historical community has collected and the final total. This has increased significantly; his supporters knew that the estimated total of $880,000 he mentioned a year ago was already out of date at the time.
Klarich says State Senator Jim Honeyford has secured $785,350 for the project through four grants, and the partnership has raised just over $100,000. “We think it will cost around $1.5 million,” he said. The association continues to collect donations.
Honeyford and a Sea Mar official attended the groundbreaking ceremony and were praised by many speakers for their strong support of the highly anticipated project.
“Sea Mar… stepped in at the last moment. Because without them this wouldn’t have been possible. It would have taken several years to get more funding,” Bazán said. “Everything went well”.
When the history society was founded in July 2010, a year after the town’s centennial anniversary, members were hoping to publish a Granger history book and create a Granger history archive room. The association’s president, Helen Dodd, said they’ve accomplished both.
“Our third goal was to build a new museum one day. And guess what? It’s going to be finished,” he said. “After four years of serious planning and fundraising, we just finished the groundbreaking ceremony.”
Granger thanked the people for their donations to the project and Sea Mar for providing space and funding.
Granger and its environs have a long and rich history. The city is adjacent to the Yakama Reserve and Gerald Lewis, Chairman of the Yakama Nation Tribal Council, spoke after the groundbreaking.
“I want to thank the Granger community. I know Yakama Nation has many alumni here,” he said. “I look forward to seeing it and touring the facility when it’s finished. I want to congratulate the committee for all the work they’ve done on this behalf.”
The museum has 43 works, including originals and signed prints, by the well-known Yakama artist Larry George. George graduated from Granger High and has worked with Granger students for many years. Klarich said members of the history community are hoping to showcase more artwork in the new museum.
Granger is also surrounded by farms that produce fruit, including asparagus, cherries, and hops. Workers created the Lower Yakima Valley’s extensive irrigation network that enabled rich agricultural harvests, and people came from all over the United States and beyond to support themselves and their families by working in the fields.
Migrant farmers in and around Granger played a critical role in the struggle to improve the wages and living conditions of farmers in the Lower Yakima Valley. Seattle photographer Irwin Nash captured many scenes at the Crewport federal labor camp near Granger in Granger, and many other locations, showing farm workers, their families, churches, and social activities in the 1960s and ’70s.
A veteran history teacher and Pasco resident, Francisco Martinez graduated from Granger High in 1971 and remembers Nash and his struggle for better wages and working conditions. He joined several of his alumni friends and others attending Thursday’s events.
Dodd and others from the history association stressed that the much larger museum will reflect the entire history of the area and plans are being made for it. Martinez is hopeful.
“I’m glad they did,” he said. “I want to make sure everyone’s stories are included.”
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