Renowned Bainbridge Island firm Wenzlau Architects, along with Browne Wheeler Engineers and the Fischer Bouma Partnership planning and design studio, will contribute their services to the Fort Ward Community Hall project.
“Our architecture work has always been about reinforcing what we love about our island,” said Charlie Wenzlau, principal in the Wenzlau Architects firm. “We are excited to be able to help preserve a piece of our island history and create a place for the community to gather.”
Joining the Wenzlau firm in contributing design work are Browne Wheeler Engineers and Sandy Fischer of Fischer Bouma Partnership, both firms of Bainbridge Island.
“These three firms have a long working relationship on a variety of projects,” Wenzlau said. “Given their busy schedules, I am so grateful to have the Browne Wheeler and Fischer Bouma talents as part of the team.”
The project will see restoration of Fort Ward’s historic bakery building, creating the first public hall at the island’s south end.
The brick building on Evergreen Drive was constructed in 1910 as part of the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps installation at Fort Ward.
Originally designed as a bakery, the building helped sustain the post garrison through World War I and beyond. The building was later repurposed as a power station to support Fort Ward’s Navy radio school and code-breaking operations during World War II.
After Fort Ward was decommissioned around 1960, the building became a private residence. It was purchased in 2007 by Kitsap County Sewer District No. 7, which operates the south-end wastewater treatment plant, for use as a community hall and district office.
The project’s first phase will bring the building back to standard for public use, lowering the floor to its original level and reconfiguring the interior space with a new kitchen and restrooms. Interpretive displays will show Fort Ward’s military history.
A future phase will see a more complete historic restoration, reopening windows that were bricked over during the years of military use.
The community hall will be managed by the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District, joining the island’s roster of historic halls including those at Seabold, Island Center and Yeomalt.
Contributions by the Wenzlau, Browne Wheeler and Fischer Bouma firms will see the project through the city permitting process.
“We’re pleased to have these local design professionals on board with the project,” said Tina Gilbert of OTWB, Inc., part of the project management team. “Their expertise will be a great help as we bring the building back to a high standard and into community use.”
Pledge sheets for the Fort Ward Community Hall project can be downloaded at http://www.fortwardhall.org, an information clearinghouse maintained by the Friends of Fort Ward neighborhood group.
Any community group or potential donor who would like more information on the project can email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a presentation and building tour.