Olympia Armory Building: Creative Campus

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What’s happening?

The Armory Concept Design Plan is complete!

At their November 7, 2022 Study Session, City Council received a briefing on the plan and provided feedback to continue with next steps. They:

  • Directed staff to redevelop the freestanding garage as part of the Armory arts infrastructure and prioritize an alternate site for artist live/work housing.
  • Affirmed the recommendation that the Armory would be operated by the Parks, Arts and Recreation Department.
  • Affirmed the recommendation that the City would support Armory operations in a similar fashion as The Olympia Center, to help keep costs to the community as affordable as possible.

About the project

The working vision of the Armory Creative Campus is to support Olympia’s artistic, collaborative, and entrepreneurial spirit. As a welcoming hub, where community members find an exchange of ideas and opportunities for creative expression it can provide a safe place and resources for exploration, positive interaction, and is dedicated to inclusive practices that center community voices from groups that are often underrepresented.

Having acquired the facility in March 2022, the City seeks to leverage the 50,000 sq. ft. Armory facility for use as a creative campus. Community input has shaped the 2021-2022 concept design planning phase and will continue to guide the project into the future.

What’s next?

The business planning phase and partner identification process. See the project timeline to the right for more details.

What’s happening?

The Armory Concept Design Plan is complete!

At their November 7, 2022 Study Session, City Council received a briefing on the plan and provided feedback to continue with next steps. They:

  • Directed staff to redevelop the freestanding garage as part of the Armory arts infrastructure and prioritize an alternate site for artist live/work housing.
  • Affirmed the recommendation that the Armory would be operated by the Parks, Arts and Recreation Department.
  • Affirmed the recommendation that the City would support Armory operations in a similar fashion as The Olympia Center, to help keep costs to the community as affordable as possible.

About the project

The working vision of the Armory Creative Campus is to support Olympia’s artistic, collaborative, and entrepreneurial spirit. As a welcoming hub, where community members find an exchange of ideas and opportunities for creative expression it can provide a safe place and resources for exploration, positive interaction, and is dedicated to inclusive practices that center community voices from groups that are often underrepresented.

Having acquired the facility in March 2022, the City seeks to leverage the 50,000 sq. ft. Armory facility for use as a creative campus. Community input has shaped the 2021-2022 concept design planning phase and will continue to guide the project into the future.

What’s next?

The business planning phase and partner identification process. See the project timeline to the right for more details.

  • City of Olympia recommended for $1M Heritage Capital Project Grant

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    The City of Olympia has been recommended for a $1 million Heritage Capital Project Grant from the Washington State Historical Society for rehabilitation and preservation work on the 1939 Olympia Armory building. Grant recommendations must go to the State Legislature for final approval and inclusion in the 2023-25 Capital Budget. This is one of 29 grants statewide that support communities in providing public access to history by preserving and interpreting Washington's history and heritage.

    In Olympia the grant funds will support an initial set of repairs and improvements needed to allow the City to open the doors of the old Armory as a new Creative Campus for Olympia. The Armory building is listed on the Olympia Heritage Register and is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

  • Armory Housewarming

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    The March 19 Housewarming celebrated the official transfer of the Armory building to the City. It was an event filled with performances and a chance for attendees to see emerging themes in the ongoing visioning process and share input on how to prioritize these ideas. Over 517 people attended.

  • Armory Open House

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    The October 2 Open House was a chance so community members could walk through the Armory building, get some inspiration, and share hopes and dreams on what they’d like the space to become.

    Watch video

  • Armory Lighting Event

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    At dusk following the October 2 community open house the Armory building was illuminated for the evening in a spectrum of colors.

    The lighting event was an opportunity to celebrate and inspire new creative uses of the space. Big thanks to Pacific Stage and Dave Sederberg for support with the installation.

    Watch video

  • Team Selected to Support Visioning Process

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    The City selected Framework Cultural Placemaking to lead a multi-disciplinary consulting team to help us identify partnerships, develop a business plan, and create a concept design for the Armory as a Creative Campus.

  • Armory Offered to City for use as a Creative Campus

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    Governor Inslee approved the 2021 Washington State Capital Budget, which directed the Military Department to transfer the Olympia Armory at no cost to the City of Olympia, "for use as a community asset dedicated to using the arts to support community development, arts education, and economic development initiatives.” 

Page last updated: 20 Jan 2023, 09:52 AM