PROSSER -- The Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center's board has a design of a rustic-looking building that will allow up to eight groups to use the Prosser interpretive center at the same time.
Finishing the conceptual design of the long-awaited center brings the nonprofit one step closer to opening the $4 million wine and culinary center on Port of Benton property in fall 2013.
Deb Heintz, vice president of the nonprofit's board, said the agrarian design by ALSC Architects of Spokane fits the wine and agriculture industries. It's what the board was looking for and has the desired "wow" factor.
"This is a new and unique project," Heintz said.
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The design is set up to give the center eight different areas where groups can be accommodated for a variety of events, she said. The nonprofit plans to use building rentals to support the center's operations.
Port of Benton commissioners gave the design a unanimous stamp of approval this week.
The 14,900-square-foot building will almost look like two buildings connected by an entry way and separated by an 4,000-square-foot outdoor patio.
One portion will include an open room with a wine bar tasting area and retail and exhibition space, with a conference room connected. The larger portion will include a multipurpose room with a demonstration kitchen and administrative area.
The Vineyard Pavilion, a 2,400-square-foot building, opened last year.
The center's goal is to tell the story of the state's wine industry and honors Walter Clore, who worked at the Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research & Extension Center and showed that wine grapes would be a viable crop in the Columbia Valley. He died in 2003.
The conceptual design suggests mixing exhibits throughout the center, both indoors and outdoors. Among the suggestions are a topographic map of Washington in the lobby, telling the story of Walter Clore throughout the center and using things such as room dividers and partitions as surfaces for exhibits.
Heintz said the volunteer board still is working on the exhibits.
The final design will come back to the commission for review, said Marv Kinney, the port's director of special projects.
Kinney said he expects the project will go to bid in September, with construction beginning in October.
Construction is expected to take nine months, Heintz said.
Heintz said the whole project will feel real once the first shovel enters the ground. Board members are hoping that will help as they work to raise the remaining $800,000 needed to finish the center.