The City of Auburn has continued the transformation of the historic Auburn Post Office into an Arts & Culture Center. Major construction and renovation began in mid-December. The renovations and interior transformations were designed by Johnston Architects and the remodeling and construction project is being handled by American West Construction.
The main floor renovation is dominated by a gallery and gathering space, a multi-use studio space for arts education of all ages, and a classroom and meeting space. The original post-office vault will be transformed into an inspiring and unique art installation space. A main-floor gift shop will serve as a revenue-generator while giving local artists an opportunity to promote and sell their work. A catering kitchen and/or café will strengthen the vision of the Auburn Arts Center as a community event space. Additional project components include newly required fire and life-safety systems, HVAC improvements/modifications; restroom improvements, new lighting systems, roof replacement and cupola repairs; as well as refinishing the original historic terrazzo and wood floors. In a future phase, the renovated basement level will feature teaching spaces for community-based arts classes, performance rehearsal spaces, and additional studios.
Auburn's original Post Office was built in 1937 as a WPA project. The building was converted into a King County Public Health facility in 1964. Vacant since 2009, the City of Auburn purchased the building in 2016 and has been working since that time to restore the architectural and historic treasure and redefine it as a central hub where cultural communities come together to learn, create and share. The 8,000 square foot building is listed on the King County Landmarks Register, the Washington State Heritage Register and the National Register of Historic Placesm and all exterior renovations must receive approval from King County Landmarks Commission.
The transformation is expected to be finished in August of 2022. The Arts & Culture Center will provide increased access to the arts and cultural education for the local and regional community and drive economic activities in Auburn's downtown core. The newly renovated lobby space and multipurpose rooms will offer new public programs like music and dance performances, visual arts exhibitions, literary arts events, and other cultural gatherings. Programming will also include arts education for all ages, including after-school programs that aim to engage at-risk youth and other school age students. The goal is to make the economic, educational, cultural and civic benefits of the arts available to all communities by broadening public access to the arts.