The Bettie Steiger Community Enrichment Center
The Bettie Steiger Community Enrichment Center is one step closer to reality thanks to the generous support of Bettie’s Family and the McGregor Family. The Center will be housed in the former Hamilton Drug store located next to the Colfax Library, providing travel, cultural, educational and economic enrichment to the Palouse.
The concept for the Center first developed as a result of Bettie and her husband Don’s visits to the Colfax Library. It was during occasional stops to check their email that the couple came to realize the impact the library was having within the community.
“We couldn’t believe the technical, educational and emotional needs being filled each and every time we visited the library,” says Don Steiger, Bettie’s husband of 52 years. “Bettie spent her life teaching and inspiring others, so she and I often discussed the amazing work being done right here in downtown Colfax.”
Library Director Kristie Kirkpatrick’s says that admiration goes both ways. “The first time I met Bettie, I knew she was a real go getter.” Only later did Kirkpatrick learn the extent of Bettie’s background.
Bettie was honored by Washington State University as their Woman of the Year in 2003 and by the Women’s Forum West Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. Bettie raised her children and served as an active volunteer before re-entering the workforce where she held a number of executive positions with start-ups and the Xerox Corporation. She later founded her own company, Steiger & Associates. Throughout her lifetime she remained loyal to PiBeta Phi sorority and a number of volunteer agencies and important causes.
It is important to Kirkpatrick that the Center honors Bettie in a way that has a positive and lasting impact upon the community. She envisions everything from art gallery showings and the sale of artisan wares, to educational, yoga and art classes.
Purchased entirely with private funds, the Center’s finances will be separate from those of Whitman County Library District. According to Kirkpatrick, “The facility will benefit the entire county but the library’s budget could never handle such a venture.” Kirkpatrick explains that partnerships with the Colfax Chamber of Commerce, the Colfax Arts Council, freelance artists and educational instructors along with foundational programming support will cover ongoing costs.
The biggest hurdle will be renovation of the building and this is where Kirkpatrick needs your help. “Our goal is to get the Center up and running as quickly as possible.” Kirkpatrick encourages anybody interested in donating to the project, utilizing the facility or assisting with grant writing to give her a call today at 509-397-4366.