Keizer’s cultural heart needs the community’s help

In 2018, the Board of the Keizer Heritage Foundation began a fundraising effort to raise $100,000 for the care and maintenance of the old Keizer School, that now serves as the Keizer Cultural Center, for the next 20 years.

 Twenty years ago, a group of concerned Keizer citizens united to save the old Keizer School building. In a highly successful effort, they raised $250,000 that was matched by the City of Keizer and the school building was saved. 

Today the Keizer Cultural Center houses four non-profit, volunteer-operated organizations that are unique in Keizer and directly benefit the Keizer community. These community organizations would not exist without this historic building: 

Keizer Heritage Museum, Keizer Community Library, Keizer Art Association and the Enid Joy Mount Gallery and Keizer Homegrown Theatre.

The City of Keizer provides the land where the building is located, but the building itself is the sole responsibility of the Keizer Heritage Foundation. No tax dollars are used to maintain the building.

During the summer, the Keizer Heritage Founation Board began the process of care and maintenance of the most critical and major repairs. Those included replacing the 20-year-old failing roof ($29,000), replacing the 20-year-old failing water heater ($4,000), replacing the 20-year-old ADA lift for which parts were no longer available ($32,000), repaired and painted the building exterior and cleaned, repaired, and painted the gutters ($15,000).

These essential repairs have left the Heritage Foundation’s maintenance fund with no reserves. Now is the time to complete the fundraising effort began in 2018. 

The repairs that were not completed include: 

• Replacement of the original 1916 windows that are leaking, not sealing and are painted shut, unable to be opened for circulation and fresh air as required by CDC best practices for pandemic response (estimated cost $25,000).

• Replacement of one or all of our three HVAC systems which are now twenty years old (estimated cost up to $30,000).

The Keizer Heritage Foundation is seeking 100 Keizer residents to make a one-time $1,000 contribution to raise $100,000 be used for repairs and maintenance only. The original sinking fund was approximately $100,000, as well and it has served the preservation and maintenance of the building for the first 20 years, so the Heritage Foundation board is confident that this one-time fundraiser will sustain the Keizer Cultural Center through the next 20 years.

All donations will be memorialized on a permanent plaque placed inside the school designating donors as a member of the “Keizer 100 Club” and a celebration is planned for the summer of 2021 on the patio of the building.

The Keizer Heritage Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 so donations are tax deductible. There are three ways to pay your donation that can be spread over a 12-month period. If you are interested and want to help preserve Keizer’s oldest building and heritage please contact [email protected] or the Keizertimes office (kt@keizertimes) for more information.