Purchase of EMS building complete; IMA preps for renovation

The pending transformation of the former EMS building on Spring Street is shown in an artist rendition of IMA
The pending transformation of the former EMS building on Spring Street is shown in an artist rendition of IMA's design for its new home.
— image credit: Contributed art

The transformation of the former Spring Street headquarters of San Juan EMS into a visual arts museum is expected to begin in early February and be completed by late June.

San Juan Islands Art Museum recently finalized its pending purchase of the building from the island Hospital District, ahead of schedule and, according to Charlie Bodenstab, acting executive director of San Juan Islands Art Museum, an opening exhibition is planned for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Construction and remodel of the 5,000 square-foot building should be done by late June, Bodenstab said.

"IMA has had full use of the building since entering into a lease-purchase agreement with the hospital board last May," Bodenstab said in a press release. "This interim period has provided ample time to complete plans, contracts and permits for the project."

Meanwhile, IMA has also launched a fundraising campaign to help cover the cost of the building's purchase ($550,000) and reconstruction. Museum officials initially planned to purchase the building over a three-year period, which corresponded to the length of the lease in its purchase and sale agreement with the hospital district. But IMA will be in a better position to qualify for grants and private donations by taking ownership of the building earlier than originally planned, Bodenstab said.

Founded a decade ago, IMA operated out of a series of rented spaces in downtown Friday Harbor since its formation. The new facility provides a permanent venue for IMA to present exhibits that feature nationally renowned visual artists and local artists as well.

In addition to hosting visual arts exhibits, IMA raises and distributes funds to support student art programs in Friday Harbor elementary and middle schools. It conducts the popular "Family Art Days" program in July and August each year as well.

For more information check out the website at or call the museum office at 360-370-5050.



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