Centralia Coal Transition Board Supports the United Learning Center Project

The $1,000,000 grant will support economic development, jobs, education, community enhancement and energy efficiency.  

Centralia, (August 10, 2021) The Centralia Coal Transition Boards are pleased to announce they are supporting the United Way of Lewis County, Boys and Girls Clubs of Lewis County and the Discover! Children’s Museum in their efforts to unite children, families, and the community in the United Learning Center (“ULC”) facility which will be constructed on a lot donated by the City of Centralia. The space will facilitate the comprehensive education of community youth through the founding partners’ combined skills, resources, and connections. Once complete the ULC will contain a specialized early learning center for pre-school aged children, a Boys and Girls Club for after school and summer engagement, and the Discover! Children’s Museum, a place for learning of all ages.  

The Weatherization Board and the Economic and Community Development Board have each approved a grant award of $500,000 for a total grant of $1,000,000 to support the ULC project. This project has additional sources of funding, $4,000,000 from the Washington State Legislature, $1,900,000 from the City of Centralia REET funds and provides for an opportunity for additional partners to join in this exciting project through a capital campaign.  

The funding board members appreciate the collaboration efforts by the United Way of Lewis County, the Boys and Girls Club and Discover! Children’s Museum to bring this type of supportive environment to the community and look forward to watching the project progress. Funding this project will support economic development, jobs, education, community enhancement and energy efficiency.

For more than 50 years, United Way of Lewis County has been committed to serving the local community. Through triumphs and challenges, natural disasters and rebuilding, United Way mobilizes the caring power to help those in need. With the ULC project the agency, with their partners, are using full forces to do the same for local children and families.

The Weatherization and Economic & Community Development Boards were formed as a result of the 2011 Agreement between TransAlta and the state of Washington. This agreement allows for the Centralia plant to move away from coal-fired operations with one unit shutting down in December 2020 and the second unit in December 2025. TransAlta is investing $55 million into Lewis and South Thurston Counties and the state of Washington through the Coal Transition Boards.

Overview of the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards:

Annual payments for the funding boards have been made since 2012 with the last payment due December 31, 2023.  The opportunity to start flowing dollars into projects became effective December 31, 2015.

Weatherization Board ($10M): established to fund energy efficiency and weatherization for the residents, employees, business, non-profit organizations and local governments within Lewis County and South Thurston County; up to $1 million shall be allocated to fund residential energy efficiency and weatherization measures for low-income and moderate-income residents of Lewis County and South Thurston County;

Economic & Community Development Board ($20M): established to fund education, retraining, economic development, and community enhancement; at least $5M shall be allocated to fund education, retraining and economic development specifically targeting the needs of workers displaced from the Centralia facility;

Energy Technology Board ($25M): established to fund energy technologies with the potential to create environmental benefits to the state of Washington.