RICHLAND, Wash. – An outdoor stage for campus and community events will get off to a collaborative start at a public groundbreaking ceremony 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 26, at Washington State University Tri-Cities.
With the Columbia River as a backdrop, the Columbia Center Rotary Stage will be built on the grassy area between the West Building and the Consolidated Information Center.
“This outdoor stage will become a gathering place for students and the community,” said Sharon Holden, WSU Tri-Cities director of advancement and regional development. “The Columbia Center Rotary Stage is another example of the passion Tri-Citians have for our campus, expressed through unique partnerships that get things done.”
Funding a community effort
Stage construction and equipment will cost about $140,000, which is being provided by:
  • Columbia Center Rotary Club, $80,000
  • City of Richland, $40,000 from the hotel/motel lodging tax fund
  • Students of WSU Tri-Cities, $20,000 from the service & activities facilities fees

“The Columbia Center Rotary was pleased to issue a 2-to-1 community challenge grant, which was then matched by funds from students and the City of Richland,” said Michael Rader, chair of the Columbia Center Rotary Charity Board.

“This contribution to WSU Tri-Cities is the largest single grant the Rotary club has ever given,” he said. “The gift comes from our Columbia Center Rotary Charity, which is governed independently from the Rotary Club and is managed by a board directors comprised of Columbia Center Rotary past presidents.”
Cultural, economic benefits

From the City of Richland’s perspective, the stage will allow WSU Tri-Cities to hold more community events and activities, enhancing student recruitment and regional economic development. This eventually will generate additional hotel room nights in Richland and will help with the oversaturation of Howard Amon Park’s Ellipsoid (“fingernail”) stage between May and September.

The city council approved the $40,000 investment in May on the recommendation of the city’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.

Groundbreaking speakers, directions
From George Washington Way, groundbreaking attendees should turn right at the University Drive stoplight, turn right on Crimson Way, then turn left into the Consolidated Information Center, 2770 Crimson Way. Follow the signs to walk straight through the CIC building, then outside to the stage site.
Speakers at the event will include WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Vicky L. Carwein; Mayor John Fox of the City of Richland; Michael Rader, Columbia Center Rotary Charity Board chair; Holly Wilson, Columbia Center Rotary Club president; and Amber Eubanks, Associated Students of WSU Tri-Cities president.
Access to the new stage
The process of renting the Columbia Center Rotary Stage at WSU Tri-Cities will be announced after construction is complete, but the expectation is that it will be available for events in summer 2012. Information will be posted at or call the Office of Advancement and Regional Development at 509-372-7264.
About the Rotary Club
The Rotary Club of Columbia Center is one of the leading clubs in Rotary District 5080, which has 65 clubs covering the eastern portions of the state of Washington, the northern part of Idaho, and portions of the province of British Columbia, Canada. Columbia Center Rotary is the only club in District 5080 that operates its own not-for-profit business, from which revenue generated provides financial contributions to improve lives in the Columbia Basin and throughout the world.
Columbia Center Rotary’s Board of Directors includes: Holly Wilson, president; Don Hart, past president; Tim Fredrickson, president elect; Ron Hue, treasurer; Janine Swailes, secretary; and board members Cathryn Tames, Bruce Schwan, Randy Way, Gail Middleton, Cris Gamache and Bob Quay. The Columbia Center Rotary Charity Board members include: Mike Rader, Sondra Rader, Tom Halazon, Mike Tuohy, Janelle Harvey, Christy Watts, Ken Hohenberg, Allen Brecke and Les Litzenberger.
About WSU Tri-Cities
WSU Tri-Cities is located along the Columbia River in Richland, Wash. Established in 1989 with upper division and graduate programs, WSU Tri-Cities offers 18 bachelor’s, 10 master’s, and six doctoral degrees. Learn more about the most diverse campus in the WSU system at
Media contact:
Melissa O’Neil Perdue, WSU Tri-Cities Marketing & Communications, 509-372-7319, cell/text 509-727-3094,