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NSEDC Grants $1.5M for Nome’s New Library, Museum, Cultural Center

Cover sheet for the City of Nome's proposals for the Richard Foster Building. Image: City of Nome.

The final piece of funding for Nome’s new library, museum, and cultural center is in place after a $1.5 million grant from Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation.

On Tuesday, NSEDC’s board approved the one-time donation through its outside entity funding. The money will go toward Kawerak’s Beringia Center, a major part of the planned Richard Foster Building. NSEDC Director of Communications Laureli Kinneen said making the building happen satisfies the corporation’s mission of bringing economic opportunities to the region.

“This $1.5 million will be used to complete the construction of the Richard Foster Building,” Kinneen said. “This creates jobs during that construction phase.”

Funding of the Richard Foster Building has been contentious, with Nome’s City Council divided over whether or not to advance the project before all funds were secured. Ultimately the council voted unanimously to approve the project. Now, after $1.3 million from the Rasmuson Foundation earlier this summer, NSEDC’s grant surmounts the final funding  gap for major construction.

Kawerak president Melanie Bahnke says that there are still fundraising efforts to finish interior work for the new building, but NSEDC’s grant means much of the pressure is now off.

“Thanks to NSEDC’s substantial support for the project, we’re now going to have a space to protect our cultural collections, to build education programs for the region,” Bahnke said. “We’re nearing the finish line … we have been ramping up our joint fundraising efforts [with the City of Nome] and will continue to do so until every last dollar has been secured for this project.”

Construction of the Richard Foster Building remains on track to be completed by 2016.