With the acquisition of a North Bend property, a new vision for the youth programs of the Valley is being formed by the community.
The Snoqualmie Valley Youth Activities and Community Center Association (SVYAC) is building a new youth focused meeting space on a 20-acre property along Boalch Avenue in North Bend.
The SVYAC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing space for any and all youth groups in the Valley to meet at a low cost or free of charge. The nonprofit was established in the 1950s and its first center was built in the 1960s. That youth center was a part of the community for decades, but it was severely damaged in 2008 when a broken pipe flooded the facility with sewage from the city of North Bend’s wastewater plant.
The youth center closed due to the damage, and after a settlement had been reached by the city and the SVYAC, the nonprofit began looking to rebuild.
Using the money received in the settlement, the SVYAC purchased the 20-acre property with a vision to create a space for youth groups to use year-round. After going through the permitting procedures with the city, the development of phase one — the 2,500 square foot main meeting building — began in June.
SVYAC board member Joe Hannan said scheduling and paying for meeting venues has been a difficulty youth groups in the Valley have struggled with for years. The SVYAC does not run its own programs; it provides the space for other organizations to run their programs.
“So many youth groups have difficulty finding places to meet, and it’s also cost prohibitive. If they go to rent some of these facilities it could be up to $400 or $500 a night,” he said. “Our mission is to build this facility, the meeting lodge and a storage barn because a lot outdoor programs have gear to store and maintain, to make it available to these youth groups at low to no cost. “
Hannan said over the past few years the SVYAC has been clearing out the invasive plants on the property and working through the permitting process to begin development.
Byron Moore, SVYAC board member and project construction manager, said the majority of construction will be done by volunteers, but the organization will hire professional contractors for certain jobs, like roofing.
While a large piece of the property is open field, the space stretches back into a forested area adjacent to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. The SVYAC hopes the landscape’s variety will be used in future programming, for camping and other outdoor events.
“We’ve got plans to build a working garage shop area for projects, outdoor area, 16 acres of tree and forest area for outdoor camping and event. It’s more of a rural feature back there,” Moore said. “The building itself is 2,500 square feet. Three bathrooms, catering kitchen, and a meeting room. We also have plans for an outdoor pavilion. Then the last part is a larger building, more of a barn type structure, that would look appropriate with everything else for storage and a hands-on workshop.”
The project is broken into four phases. The meeting building is the sole focus of the first phase. The exterior shell construction is expected to be completed before December. Work then will begin on the interior.
This first phase has cost roughly $250,000, Hannan said, and the interior work is expected to cost another $250,000. In order to raise funds for the project, SVYAC is asking the community for donations, all of which will go directly to fund construction costs.
To help kick off a push for donations, Hannan said that a Valley resident who wishes to remain anonymous has committed to matching donations of up to a total of $100,000. Individual donors of up to $1,000 each will be matched.
With more funding, Hannan said the site improvements, paving and parking, should be complete by the summer 2019. He hopes for people to be able to use the new property for summer programs. Phase Four, the storage barn and maintenance area, also will begin in 2019.
For more information on the SVYAC and to donate, visit www.svyac.org.