If you've cruised by the Camp Fire USA Walla Walla Council office recently at 414 S. Park St., you may notice it was gutted and the front of the building was missing.
The site started out as Timm's Grocery Store in the early 1900s. The building has been modified only slightly since Camp Fire obtained it in the 1960s, according to Kaitlin Kirk, Camp Fire USA communications coordinator.
It was clear last spring, when the state of the building was assessed, that the structural integrity needed to be addressed, Kaitlin said.
The work is being done because of a generous grant from Sherwood Trust and many other contributions from community businesses, foundations and individuals.
Renovations began on Feb.14, at Camp Fire USA's groundbreaking ceremony.
David Leal, Board president, said renovation improvements include addressing the structural integrity of the building, increasing office space to meet future growth, adding needed storage space, updating the kitchen so it meets state food licensing requirements, as well as adding a conference room which Camp Fire hopes to make available to community members.
Sharpstein Elementary School children from Camp Fire's after school program followed Leal's opening remarks with a lively performance of one of their favorite camp songs.
Organizers provided golden shovels for the ceremonious ground breaking. David joined Terry Atchison, building project manager, Jeff Moeller, contractor, Karen Wolf, Camp Fire USA executive director, and three Sharpstein campers in digging into Camp Fire's soil.
Guests enjoyed punch, cookies and Camp Fire mints and tours of the building were offered.
Renovation of the building is scheduled to continue through spring and summer, and Camp Fire USA hopes to be back in the building by midsummer. Camp Fire's temprary office is across the street from the YMCA at 325 S. Park St.
Currently, 92 percent of Camp Fire's fundraising goal has been met for the three-phase project; an additional $34,000 is needed to complete the final phase, to provide furniture for the new offices, technology updates and landscaping.
To learn more about the project or to contribute, contact Karen Wolf at 525-3180.
Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8313.