History Never Stops Capital Campaign and Laird Norton Addition Updates



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Winona County Historical Society Gives Nod to Building Project
June 7, 2009

During a special meeting July 1, the Winona County Historical Society Board of Directors voted unanimously to move ahead with its much anticipated $4.15 million building expansion project. The WCHS Board acknowledged that the gifts and pledges made to date warranted approval to start the project that includes constructing an addition to the current building and upgrades to the existing facility. There is just under $250,000 remaining to be raised to meet the total project goal, and the WCHS Board and fundraising group are firmly committed to continuing with the capital campaign efforts to raise this remaining 6% over the next several months. Mark Peterson, Executive Director, stated, "We've had more than 930 individual gifts. That's unprecedented, and we did all the fundraising with local museum member volunteers." Fundraising began in August 2007 focused on matching a $1.5 million challenge grant from the Laird Norton Company in Seattle, WA. That match was met with ten days to spare in June 2008. The Slaggie Family then offered a $250,000 challenge if the Society raised an additional $750,000. This challenge is just short of being met which will bring the total raised by the Society up to $4 million and headed toward full funding at $4.15 million! Peterson continues, "This is an exciting time for us, and we're looking forward to the addition and all it accomplishes, as well as the impact it will have on the County and downtown Winona." Groundbreaking for the new addition is scheduled for July 20.

So Close!
June 1, 2009

On May 5 the Winona County Historical Society received the bids for their Laird Norton Addition scheduled to begin construction in mid July. The project bids came in 11% lower bringing the Society closer to raising all its funds! Over 1000 people have endorsed the much needed museum expansion with over 830 gifts and pledges.

The volunteer "History Never Stops" campaign committee has been hard at work to wrap the campaign up so the construction can start as soon as possible. Only $400,000 is left to raise to start the project by July to keep in the 60 day deadline for bids. The WCHS Board is committed to raising the construction costs before construction starts to not put a financial strain on the Society by borrowing large amounts of money. In fact the WCHS has worked hard since the start of this project to be financially responsible as possible for this size of campaign. Only about 0.5% of campaign funds have gone into promoting and fundraising efforts, an unheard of number.

The 12,000 sq. ft. expansion will provide a 150 person multi-purpose room, additional artifact and archive storage, exhibit space, lobby, gift shop and a beautiful new piece of architecture for downtown Winona.

"With an expanded facility we really want to provide a quality gathering place for the people of and visitors to Winona County," says WCHS director Mark Peterson, ".a place to learn, explore and have fun."

Historical Society Unveils Design for New Building
Laird Norton Challenge Grant Met
Slaggie's Offer $250,000 Challenge
June 23, 2008

The Winona County Historical Society today unveiled the design of their new building addition. Designed by noted architect Joan Soranno of Hammel, Green & Abrahamson of Minneapolis, the building will provide 12,000-sq. ft. of much needed space for programming, collection storage, museum store, archival expansion and exhibits. The building is part of a $4.5 million project set to begin in May 2009 and be completed in June 2010 in time for the 75th anniversary of the Society. Society Executive Director Mark Peterson said he is very excited about the design and the opportunity to work with Ms. Soranno. He said, "The building will be a fine addition to the other wonderful and significant architecture in downtown Winona and solve many of the space problems of the Society. The Winona County Historical Society not only has the largest membership of any county society in the state but this is also the largest fundraising effort ever undertaken by a county society in Minnesota."

The Society was also presented with a symbolic check for $1.5 million by Chalan Colby, Laird Norton Family President. The Society in just 10 months was able to meet the $1.5 million challenge grant given to the Society by the Laird Norton Company which started their sawmill operation in Winona and is now headquartered in Seattle, Washington. In 2006 the descendants of the original founders sold the family business, which was the parent company of UBC, and at the time were approached by Society president and family member Laurie Lucas about leaving a legacy gift to the community where it all began. Lucas said, "This is where it all began and we are proud to be supporting an institution that preserves all our histories."

Winona businessman Pete Woodworth gave an update to the fundraising efforts. "The enthusiasm for this project so far has been incredible! Support in cash and pledges from over 1,000 local citizens, Society members far and wide, townships, businesses throughout the city and county, even the gas station operator in St. Charles has flowed in just in time. Reaching this historic milestone and now having $3 million dollars in our expansion fund is an absolutely vital first step in achieving our goal of raising $4.5 million dollars before we break ground a year from now. Stay tuned as we strive to make some history right here in Winona County."

Woodworth introduced Steve and Barb Slaggie of Winona who challenged the members, businesses and supporters of the Society to raise another $1 million. When that goal is reached he and his wife and children will make a $250,000 donation to the project.

Dear Friend of Winona Countyís History,

In Winona County, history surrounds usÖ. It isnít something of the past.... Itís something for today.... Itís something for tomorrow.Ö History Never Stops.

It is our goal to make sure history is available each and every day in Winona County to our county residents and to the people visiting who may want to learn about their ancestors or the way of life in this special place. To do so, we must expand our facility, and we need your help.

Expanding our facility will allow us to provide space for artifacts, more exhibits to highlight rural and urban communities in Winona County and much needed space for educational programs. Additionally, funds will help us with the conservation and preservation of our irreplaceable artifact collection. We need to have $1.5 million pledged and donated by the end of June 2008 in order to receive a $1.5 million matching grant from the Laird Norton Company. (Pledges may be spread over three years.)

Weíre asking for you to give generously today to help ensure that our yesterdays are preserved for our tomorrows. History Never Stops.

Mark Peterson, Executive Director
Jim Kramer, Campaign Chair
Laurie Lucas, Board President
Committee members:
Pete Woodworth
Mary Pendleton
Phil Feiten
Ruth Erickson
Jim Erickson

Full Brochure
Pledge Card
Case Statement

Documenting History
Peter Walsh has produced a video for the History Never Stops Campaign to be shown at meetings, events, and various programs. It illustrates the needs of the Winona County Historical Society and its goals for the future. Narrated by Director, Mark Peterson; Board President, Laurie Lucas; Campaign Chair, Jim Kramer; and advisor, Martha Thorne, the presentation includes photographs of Winona County through the years, as well as the Armory building inside and out. Peter Walsh works for Home and Community Options and has generously volunteered his time and talents in documenting this historic opportunity. If you, your family, or business would like a presentation about the project, please contact the Historical Society at 507-454-2723 ext. 1 or wchs@hbci.com
See the History Never Stops Video

History Never Stops News!

Historical Society Campaign Passes $1 Million

Capital campaign Steering Committee Chair, James Kramer of Altura, announced today that a gift of $50,000 from Winona National Bank put the Winona County Historical Society's History Never Stops campaign over the $1 million mark after just four months of fundraising. In announcing the gift, Kramer said, "Obviously the people of Winona County and beyond feel this is an important project and an exciting opportunity for our county historical society." Jack Richter, president of Winona National Bank said, "As a part of the Winona community and its history, we feel passionately about preserving and telling our community's story. The Historical Society's planned expansion through the History Never Stops campaign will allow the society to tell Winona's history in a unique and effective way well into the future. We are proud to support the campaign with our gift."

The campaign was started thirteen months after the Laird Norton Co. offered a $1.5 million challenge grant to the Society for a building addition if the Society could acquire the land next to their museum. Winona County sold the land to the Port Authority and they to the Society on August 31, 2007. The Laird Norton Co., now headquartered in Seattle, Washington began as a sawmill operation in Winona in 1855. The family owned company sold their Lanoga Corporation, parent company of Pro-Build North (formerly UBC) in 2006. The Society recently announced that it had hired architect Joan Soranno of HGA in Minneapolis to design the new addition. The Society's Executive Director Mark Peterson said, "The $1 million milestone is important but we still have to raise another $500 thousand before June 30th to get the Laird Norton challenge grant. We are still in the pre-design phase and won't know the exact cost of the building until the design is finished." The project will add much needed programming, exhibit and collection storage space to the current facility.

The Winona County Historical Society Announces Joan Soranno of HGA Architects to Design New Building

November 12, 2007, Winona, MN - The Winona County Historical Society (WCHS) announced today the selection of the architectural firm, Hammel Green and Abrahamson, Inc (HGA) of Minneapolis to design a new facility to add to their current building in the heart of Winona, Minnesota. The firm was selected following a unanimous decision by the Historical Society's Board of Directors. The addition will be adjacent to the current museum which is the architecturally significant former National Guard Armory building. The new building will allow the Historical Society to expand its mission of education and exhibitions and provide much needed space for its growing artifact collection. The $3,000,000 building will open in 2010 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the historical society.

Established in 1953, Hammel Green and Abrahamson, Inc. (HGA) provides a full range of services in the fields of architecture, engineering, and planning. They have two offices in Minnesota, in Minneapolis and Rochester. Joan Soranno, Design Partner who specializes in cultural and educational facilities, will lead the team and design the new building.

The Winona County Historical Society's Selection Committee made its recommendation to the full Board after a thorough process of reviewing the qualifications of many firms. In-depth interviews were held with four firms. The architectural finalists, all with offices in Minneapolis, were: James Dayton Design; Hammel Green and Abrahamson, Inc; Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd; and Julie Snow Architects. The WCHS Selection Committee is comprised of Society Board members, Peter Flick, Greg Gaut, Mike Kennedy, and Laurie Lucas together with WCHS Executive Director Mark Peterson. Martha Thorne, Executive Director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, advised the committee on the selection process.

"Joan Soranno and the entire team at HGA bring experience and creativity to this project. They have already demonstrated that they are extremely sensitive to our history and our future goals," says Director Peterson. "It will be a pleasure and a privilege to work with them to design the new building."

"We are honored to have been selected to design the new addition to Winona County Historical Society," says Joan Soranno. "We are attracted by the unique challenges of this project. We will be creating a new facility while respecting the rich history and fabric of the city and county. It is our vision for the new building that it will add to the architectural legacy of Winona."

HGA Minnesota includes over 250 architects, engineers, specialists in sustainability, historic preservation, and other specialties. Joan Soranno with colleague, architect John Cook, have a design studio within the Arts, Community, Education Practice Group at HGA. This studio approach serves as an incubator for innovative design and fosters a close working relationship with each client. Among her notable design works are the recently completed Museum of the North at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks and the award-winning Bigelow Chapel in New Brighton, Minnesota. Joan Soranno received her architectural degree from the University of Notre Dame. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Architectural Record.

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