College Plans Arts Center in Spokane, Wash.

$7.1 million center has just begun site work phase of project


Whitworth College is building a $7.1 million visual arts center that will have expanded gallery space for hosting rotating exhibits.

Site work has begun for the 20,000-square-foot building, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2008, said Greg Orwig, director of communications for the school.

"We have a really large variety of artistic disciplines that we offer classes in," said Orwig, adding that Whitworth may partner with the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture to host some exhibits there in the future.

The new building is designed to maximize natural light and includes hallway windows that enable passers-by to view artists at work. The center is 2,500-square feet bigger than the current art complex, Orwig said, and will include a computer lab and studios designed specifically for different art forms, such as painting and sculpting.

Millions of dollars were raised for the project, which could be named the Ernst F. Lied Center for the Visual Arts to recognize a $2 million contribution from the philanthropist's foundation. The name is pending approval by the board.

Madsen Mitchell Evenson & Conrad PLLC of Spokane designed the facility and T.W. Clark Construction LLC is the contractor.

Other major donors include:

* Walter and Shirley Oliver - up to $1 million in honor of their late son, Bryan.

* The Harriet Cheney Cowles Foundation - $500,000.

* Chuck and Karlyn Boppell - $400,000 in honor of Whitworth Professor Emeritus of Art, Pauline Haas.

* LeRoy Nosbaum - $250,000 in honor of his wife, Brenda.

Real estate survey will look at who's buying what

The Spokane-Kootenai Real Estate Research Committee plans to hire a company to explore the driving forces behind home sales in the region.

An outside company will survey 700 or more homebuyers and focus on questions that help pin down what cities and states buyers come from, whether they are purchasing first or second homes, and other important details, said Meri Berberet, a committee trustee who helped with the previous surveys.

The study, the third of its kind, will begin sometime around February of next year and wrap up around September, Berberet said. So far, the Spokane Association of Realtors pledged $10,000 to help cover costs, while Coeur d'Alene Association of Realtors pledged $5,000.

Berberet said the goal of the survey is to provide information to bankers, Realtors and others involved in the real estate market.

New development at Schweitzer Mountain

Schweitzer Mountain, near Sandpoint, has 35 ski-in ski-out properties for sale in a development, called Trappers Creek. The community features view lots with easy access to amenities, a news release from the developer, Schweitzer Mountain Real Estate LLC, said.

In the past few years, the release said, Schweitzer Mountain has had $50 million in infrastructure improvements and $10 million in on-mountain and resort improvements.