Dungeness River Audubon Center director Powell Jones, background, helps guide a tour of the center’s renovation to Sequim Sunrise Rotary Foundation board members in April. River center representatives recently announced a $300,000 grant from the Sundlerland Foundation to help complete the expansion. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell

Dungeness River Audubon Center director Powell Jones, background, helps guide a tour of the center’s renovation to Sequim Sunrise Rotary Foundation board members in April. River center representatives recently announced a $300,000 grant from the Sundlerland Foundation to help complete the expansion. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell

Dungeness River Audubon Center expansion project gets $300K boost

The Dungeness River Center is another big step toward its expansion, thanks to a Kansas-based foundation.

Representatives with the river center announced this past weekend the organization has received a grant from the Sunderland Foundation of $300,000 to help complete construction elements of the center’s expansion and remodel.

Started by Lester T. Sunderland, president of the Ash Grove Cement Company in 1945, the foundation’s gift will fittingly be used in part for concrete work at the center.

That work includes concrete sidewalks connecting the new parking area to all building entrances, and pathways to the Dungeness River, park amenities, the historic Railroad Bridge and the Olympic Discovery Trail, river center representatives said.

“We are grateful for the Sunderland Foundation’s interest in promoting youth education and community buildings," said Powell Jones, director of the Dungeness River Audubon Center. “This award came right when we needed to fill some of the gaps in our construction budget for the new Center.”

Other concrete construction elements include a concrete patio and ADA access ramp for the new eastern main entrance, and a concrete slab for an atrium that will provide a covered outdoor area for teaching and for community exhibits and festivals.

The grant will also support construction of a wildlife viewing area with seating to offer comfortable indoor viewing of bird feeders, a water feature, a native plant garden, the riparian forest and a rain garden.

The Sunderland Foundation of Overland Park, Kan., was established in 1945 by Sunderland, who served as president of the Ash Grove Cement Company for 33 years. After more than seven decades, the foundation continues to be led by his descendants.

The foundation, representatives say, focus on supporting brick and mortar projects, awarding grants to nonprofits in the Kansas City region and other areas where the Ash Grove Cement Company traditionally does business, including Seattle, where the Ash Grove Cement plant was acquired in 1984.

The “Inspire Wonder” capital campaign to expand the Dungeness River Audubon Center by about 59,000 square feet —initially estimated at about $2.9 million — is projected to be short about $1 million thanks to exponential rises in building costs, campaign chair Annette Hanson said in previous interviews

Those who have questions about the project can contact Hanson at 360-670-6774 or annette_hanson@msn.com or visit dungenessrivercenter.org/our_story/building-expansion.

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