Thank you for your interest!
Click on this artist's rendering to hear about the future our community is making possible!
You can read the details about our project below, and when you are ready, please join us in Securing our Foundation, Elevating our Potential!
Our Beloved Home
The Bellingham Theatre Guild formed in 1929.
In 1944 we bought the historic First Congregational Church building at 1600 H St., constructed in 1903.
This DISTINGUISHED building has tremendous character and charm, but it has significant deficiencies.
It is simply not handicap accessible, which means we are unable to serve a significant portion of our community. It has no dedicated office space and requires a second exit from the reception room. Most fundamentally, the original stacked rock and mortar foundation stands on 18 feet of rubble and fill with groundwater problems. The result is continuing uneven settling, which has caused manageable problems thus far, but threatens greater difficulties in the future.
Over the years we have steadily made improvements and addressed many other building needs, but these current challenges are beyond what we can do ourselves.
1. Installing an elevator and new main entrance facing our parking lot to provide access for all to the “House,” the reception room and restrooms. This entry will be configured to allow a small office for ticketing and business operations and provide a needed second fire exit from the reception room.
2. Solving the foundation problem by sinking numerous steel “pin piles” down to bedrock, a distance of 18 feet, and replacing the existing foundation with a modern concrete foundation. This is the approach recommended by a leading Bellingham construction firm that has done similar work elsewhere. The additional weight of an elevator requires significant foundation work, making this the appropriate time to replace it all.
Why this? Why Now?
For several years the BTG Board of Trustees has studied our situation and considered our options.
Both selling and moving, and demolishing and rebuilding were explored and proved to be far more costly than continuing to remodel our existing building. Plus, they held little hope of a home with the character and karma of what we have now. We are convinced that investing in the current building is the right thing to do and that now is the right time to do it. Every board member has made a personally meaningful commitment to that end; their combined contributions were the first $150,000 donated. Well over 200 people have joined with us, and together we have already raised over $850,000.
BTG is a welcoming and supportive community. Since 1929 we have been quietly changing the lives of many people in Whatcom County. Your support now will both ensure, and meaningfully expand, our ability to continue doing that for the next 86 seasons!