Center remodel roars on

"The building isn't done, but the tenants were happy to settle in anyway - if only for an hour. Representatives of five social service agencies met inside the Marge Williams Center for the first time Thursday afternoon, making plans for a March 1 move-in date.We're going to end up with a first-class building here - much more than we ever imagined a year ago, said local real estate agent Ed Kushner, who has spearheaded the project from its inception.The building was still very much a construction zone - tools and materials were scattered about, wires dangled here and there, blankets of insulation bulged from the unfinished walls. Outside, construction crews pounded away on a new peaked roof and a more robust balcony and facade. Per the season, the morning had commenced with what was described as a frisky crew from Drury Construction singing Oh Tannenbaum without benefit of the words.But with the interior framing done, the building's organization is apparent. Visitors will be greeted by a reception area to be staffed by volunteers, with a large conference room to the left that will also open out to a garden area and pathway.Eight separate offices, coffee and copying areas and other shared spaces are arrayed around the building, with the floors to be connected by the familiar outside stairway.Signs above each door indicate the future occupants - Team Winslow; Bainbridge Island Land Trust; Health, Housing and Human Services Council; Arts and Humanities Council; Housing Resources Board.And the arts council, it appears, will have the best seat in town, in a corner office with sweeping views of Winslow Green, the business district and even Eagle Harbor through a trio of large windows.The future tenants were impressed by the new digs.It's wonderful that we have people in this community who think of these things, said Connie Waddington, representing the land trust.Construction manager Norm Down said many of the materials are being provided by local suppliers at cost, with labor at cut rates or simply gratis.Earlier this week, a load of needed wood showed up in the parking lot, courtesy of Lumbermen's, with an invoice attached for $00.00.You don't get invoices like that very often, especially for a pallet of plywood, Down said.Latest to jump on the bandwagon is Hill Moving, which has offered to move the organizations from their present offices free of charge.The building was purchased from the estate of community leader Marge Williams, slain in her upstairs apartment in 1998. Total cost for the project is estimated at $420,000, with the fundraising drive still about $12,000 short of its goal. Engraved rose bricks ($500) and pavers ($150) are still available for sale, to be installed as part of a landscaped community path at the east edge of the grounds. Thursday, fund drive coordinator Kate Carruthers was touting the bricks as a fine last-minute holiday gift; call 842-5666.Organizers have set an April 7 date for an all-day open house.We need to have a party, Carruthers said. A big one, Kushner added. "

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