The addition includes industrial refrigeration and freezer space, as well as a dry storage area for nonperishables and a maintenance area.

Work is underway on a 3,200 square foot addition to the Butte Valley Community Center in Dorris, which will provide more storage space for perishable and non-perishable foods, as well as a meeting space utilizing the latest technologies.

The project, which was started in 2017, should be complete in a matter of months, said George Jennings, executive director of Ore-Cal Resource Conservation and Development Council, which was the project’s fiscal sponsor.

Ore-Cal assisted the Dorris Lions Club, which operates the community center, to raise funds for the project, including more than $425,000 in grants.

Also integral to the project’s success was a technical assistance grant from The Ford Family Foundation in 2018 to complete a business and strategic plan prior to applying. In 2019 Ore-Cal, working with the Lions Club planning team, applied to The Ford Family Foundation, The McConnell Foundation and Pacific Power’s Blue Sky renewable energy program for assistance. Each was successful.

The Blue Sky grant will help provide funds for the solar array, which will support the Lions Club with sustainability goals and to eliminate the facility’s power bill, allowing the club to utilize those funds to support other community initiatives.

The original community center was built in 2011 and serves the entire basin, said Jennings. It boasts a commercial kitchen and is used regularly for weddings, banquets, meetings and fundraisers. Meals that are delivered to seniors via Meals on Wheels are prepared there, and Great Northern uses the facility for its monthly commodities distribution.

The addition became necessary as the Lions realized a need for more food storage space, said Jennings. The lack of storage area was limiting growth of the center and creating unnecessary extra work for volunteers who shopped for supplies and had to provide offsite storage before and after events.

“The Dorris Lions Club board was worried they were wearing down their volunteers,” Jennings said.

The addition includes industrial refrigeration and freezer space, as well as a dry storage area for nonperishables and a maintenance area. It also adds a new high tech-enabled meeting space that accommodates about 25 people, Jennings said. The Dorris Lions Club may rent the space out for trainings, classes and for use as a possible groomsmen room for wedding events.

Donations from the community continue to come in, Jennings noted.So far, the community has raised more than $43,000 in cash and donations. In-kind labor donations total more than $100,000.

Planning and permitting for the project was completed last year, and an informal groundbreaking ceremony took place in the late fall of 2019.

“The plan is to have the project completed June of 2020,” Jennings said. “We will have a big celebration and show off the new digs to the community.”