It’s been a challenging but interesting summer on the TwispWorks campus. For all of the “partners” whose businesses or organizations reside here, patience and endurance have been required.
TwispWorks is in the middle of a massive remake that includes a new brewhouse and adjoining taproom for the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, extensive landscaping, new walkways and a rebuilt parking lot to replace a rutted surface that was miserable in most seasons.
All of this involves excavating and grading and trenching and moving lots of dirt and gravel, along with foundation construction, concrete laying, utilities installation and paving. There is more to do yet.
TwispWorks has been a busy crossroads for heavy machinery, behemoths that are offloaded from long trailers and roll around ponderously on huge treads. These are the excavators, the kings of the jungle. They have large buckets and cabs that swivel around rather deftly. At night these big guys guard the campus like brooding sentinels.
Then there are gravel trucks, graders, skip loaders, dozers, backhoes, water trucks, rollers, panel trucks and lots of pickups. It’s not unusual for several of these vehicles to be maneuvering at once in what are pretty close quarters for a construction site.
For everyone’s safety, all the construction vehicles beep when they back up. Beep-beep-beep has become the theme song for our work days, an earworm that may follow you home and haunt your dreams.
At times, there have been several crews on site, working on different aspects of the project. They are outdoor workers who have steadily labored through the summer’s extreme temperatures and stifling smoke. We worried about them sometimes, because it got nasty out there.
The work has made parking on the campus an ever-changing proposition, including times when we had to park on adjacent streets. Access to nearly every building was compromised, some more than others. Somehow, many of you bushwhacked your way through it all and found the Methow Valley News building. We admire your perseverance and appreciate your creativity, even as some you arrived looking rather dazed.
We’ve had what amounts to a front row seat for most of the construction. The brewhouse and taproom are being built just a few feet east of our building. At times, the excavators were so close that if the cab inadvertently swung too far, the bucket would have come through one of our front windows.
I’ve learned something about construction, just watching the process, which is complicated and intricate. It all has to proceed in exactly the right sequence (which I can’t always follow). The many hundreds of details are exacting. You would not believe what it takes to properly smooth a new concrete pour.
The campus partners are getting through all this by improvising, adapting, tuning out the noise and disruption as best we can. In part, we are able to do that because we know what the payoff will be when it’s all done. It’s going to be a much more attractive and efficient place to work and visit. TwispWorks management has kept us advised of what’s going on and what to prepare for. They’ve had to reconfigure their operations as well, rerouting people to a back door for access to the main office.
The current project culminates nearly a decade of improvements at the campus, which was formerly a U.S. Forest Service station. A landscaped central plaza area was developed a couple of year ago as a focal point of the 6.4-acre campus, with a splash pad area and a performance space. New signage is going up. Nearly all the buildings have been renovated for an eclectic variety of occupants including Little Star Montessori School.
Next year, TwispWorks will celebrate its 10th anniversary, a decade that included transitioning from a public development authority to an independent nonprofit that is expected to be entirely self-sustaining.
In a few weeks, when the paving is completed, TwispWorks has a couple of events scheduled that are intended to get people used to visiting the campus again – the annual dinner (postponed to Oct. 6) and an art walk and studio tour planned for Sept. 29 in conjunction with Confluence Gallery. You’ll hear more about those.
I encourage you to drop by and look things over. The brewhouse/taproom will still be under construction with a scheduled completion date of next spring, but that won’t hinder access to the other interesting things going on here. I think that, like us, you will see that all the work has been worth it.