Pierce County has reopened the Steilacoom ferry terminal after a major remodeling project closed it for nearly five months.
County officials will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, eight days after the renovated terminal reopened to the public.
“It’s has never looked better, said David Jacobsen, ferry liaison for the Anderson Island Citizens’ Advisory Board. “They’ve done a beautiful job.”
County officials say the project will reduce energy costs, make the building more comfortable and serviceable for customers, give employees more room and extend the life of the building.
The work added energy-efficient windows, public wireless Internet connection, office space and an upgraded heating-and-cooling system.
Outside, the project spruced up the building with a new entrance, paint job, columns and railings.
The terminal also has larger and updated bathrooms. Jacobsen said patrons frequently complained the old restrooms couldn’t accommodate more than one person, required frequent maintenance and used a lot of water.
The Town of Steilacoom’s preservation and review board examined the building design to ensure it meshed with the community’s historic look.
“It harkens back to that time of more classic travel and more classic terminal buildings,” Jacobsen said.
The project cost about $470,000 and was funded with a portion of fare revenue the county sets aside for capital projects.
Riders used a temporary shelter and restrooms when construction began in January.
Although an inconvenience, Deb Wallace, the county’s airport and ferry administrator, said doing the project during winter months helped save the county about $100,000.
A fare increase took effect in January. Wallace said the increase was due to higher fuel and labor costs and was not related to the terminal project.
The ferry provides service between the Town of Steilacoom and Anderson and Ketron islands. There were about 380,000 individual boardings last year.
Ridership has been down as fewer residents live on Anderson Island and because of fewer visits to the islands, presumably due to the poor economy. The last renovation of the ferry terminal was in 1986.