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Cladding is being applied to the exterior

The new Railway Education Center at the Northwest Railway Museum is rapidly approaching completion. Just in the last few weeks, crews have been completing the electrical work, installing heating and air conditioning duct work, applying gypsum board, and applying steel cladding to the exterior. The building dedication is set for October 8 so the pressure is on!

Scaffolding allows workers to install
the special air handling system in the
vault. 

Special air handling is being installed in the archival vault. It will maintain relative humidity around 40% and the temperature at between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The vault incorporates approximately 800 square feet and will feature extended height compact rolling shelving along with a very high floor load rating. An enormous volume of material will be accommodated in this purpose-built space that is being protected with a “clean agent” FM-200 non-aqueous fire suppression system.

The women’s restroom will feature seven
stalls.  Hopefully, no one will ever have
to wait.

Another notable feature of the new Railway Education Center is the restroom. The combined total of “receptacles” is 14, exceeding the Snoqualmie Depot count of just eight. This will improve the visitor experience during major events that may be held at the new museum campus and ensure – or so Spike sincerely hopes – that families with young children are comfortable visiting for longer periods of time.

The classroom is really taking shape!

A primary feature of the new center is a classroom to accommodate school groups, lecture series, rules instruction, traveling exhibits, and more.  Adjacent storage rooms will allow for maximum flexibility so the room configuration can be almost infinitely modified. An adjacent kitchen will provide support for larger and longer events too, as well as support for Halloween and Santa Train!

Attic storage.  Note fire suppression
piping to the right.

Up in the attic a clever feature is being installed. With the building’s massive foundation and structure to allow a library and archival vault, the attic area is receiving a special records storage unit. Important museum records that are not part of the archival collection will be stored in fireproof file cabinets located in the attic area and accessed with a retractable ladder. (The fireproof file cabinets are further protected with a fire suppression system.) Most business records are kept for not longer than 7 years so the room has been set up to allow the easy removal and disposal of materials once their life cycle has been completed.

The “front” elevation of the Railway
Education Center.

During some construction days there are more than 20 workers on the site making for rather congested working conditions. Substantial completion is scheduled for October, small and punch list items will be worked on in November and December, and the “move in” time horizon remains in early 2017. Meanwhile, fundraising continues and your contribution to help assure completion of this important new facility and the programs it will allow will be acknowledged on a donor board in the new foyer.