Construction on Mount Constitution continues

The construction of new restroom facilities at the summit of Mount Constitution in Moran State Park should be completed soon. However, the fate of an interpretive center to accompany it depends on the state legislature.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen too soon,” said Washington State Parks Commissioners Chairman Mark Brown at an Orcas Rotary Club meeting on Friday, July 28.

When state legislature returns to session (time to be decided) and if it approves the budget with the interpretive center, it will still be more than a year before construction would begin.

The restrooms will cost approximately $400,000 to build. The projects includes updating the water system to support the expanded use. The new facility will be ADA-compliant and comprised of three individual-use restrooms, a maintenance chase and a water system area and should be completed by October. The funding is coming from state parks.

The project required the demolition of the existing interpretive building, which was a former KVOS commercial television station. It was being managed by the Friends of Moran.

Taking down the building has been a sensitive subject for some locals like Rolf Eriksen.

“…The mainland architects declared that the building was ugly, unsavable and rotten and needed to be demolished,” said Ericksen. “I saw little or no evidence of this level of degradation and know how well the building was cared for by the KVOS staff.”

According to Toni Weyman Droscher, communications consultant and social media coordinator for Washington State Parks And Recreation Commission, the building was “really old” and out of compliance.

The building’s original purpose was to house radio equipment and some administrative functions. The existing structure would not have been conducive to the needs of a new interpretive center, said Droscher.

“Sometimes taking a building – especially a building that had a whole different purpose – and trying to create a new building out of an old building is often more costly than just demolishing and starting from scratch,” said Droscher. “And that was the case for this.”