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The project, set to be completed in late July, will allow catering and classes

RENDERING COURTESY OF CCC - The ongoing renovation project at the Chehalem Cultural Center is nearing its conclusion.

The ongoing renovation project at the Chehalem Cultural Center is nearing its conclusion, but officials would say little else about the effort.

Sean Andries, executive director at the CCC, said a bigger announcement will come in the next few weeks, but otherwise progress was being made.

"What I can say is it is nearing completion," he said.

The renovation project is for a culinary enrichment program which will also create classroom space. The renovations are being funded by a $200,000 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. That grant is being used to establish a culinary enrichment center on the first floor; construction began March 11.

"From helping refugees find community and build a home to supporting vulnerable children to addressing the mental health needs of our neighbors, these grants represent the critical work that countless nonprofits, corporate foundations, family foundations and volunteers are coming together with representatives of the business, government, health care, faith and education sectors to address in creative and sustainable ways," Steve Moore, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust's executive director, said when the grant was announced.

The group announced the more than $3 million in grants this winter to more than a dozen organizations in the greater Portland area, and gave $11 million to nearly 50 projects total.

Andries said the expectation is for the project to be completed in July.

The project was designed by Scott Edwards Architecture with input from many involved community members. It is being constructed by DGS General Construction. DGS was one of three bidders on the project and all bids came in lower than expected.

The culinary enrichment center will fill the last unfinished space on the ground floor.

It was also funded by a $250,000 grant from the city's transient lodging tax. Funds are still being raised to furnish the center. Andries said they have also been fundraising to meet their goals. He said initially, they expected the cost of the renovations to be $500,000. However, the estimate later came back at nearly $864,000. He said between the grants and individual fundraising, they were able to raise "in excess" of that figure.

Andries said the CCC continues to accept donations and appreciates the community's support for this project.

The culinary enrichment center will provide staging areas for caterers and others to prep and serve food in local venues. There will also be a multi-purpose room that can be used as a staging area, and a secluded bride room to be used during weddings. It will also provide culinary classes, as well as more restrooms and capacity for events such as the annual Camellia Festival and regular concert series.

Andries said while more bathroom space isn't all that exciting, it will definitely help for those events. And since the project is slated to be done mid-summer it should be available for use during the Tunes on Tuesday concert series.


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