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b2ap3_thumbnail_2016_5_26ProvnextPlanting1.jpg b2ap3_thumbnail_2016_5_26ProvnextPlanting3.jpg

Employees from Providence Health and Services will volunteer to conduct a cleanup and planting of colorful flowers on the property of the Providence Academy (400 E. Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver WA.)from 2 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 26. The employees are members of ProvNext, an organized networking group of professionals within Providence Health & Services.

"This planting not only gives the historic Providence Academy a springtime facelift, it symbolizes new beginnings for the property," said Fort Vancouver National Trust President and CEO, Mike True. The Academy was awarded $1 million out of the Washington state supplemental budget in April, to replace the roof and repair the front porches of the 143-year-old building. That work is scheduled to begin this summer. "We are grateful for our friendship and partnership with Providence, and for their heartfelt commitment to this beautiful Vancouver landmark."

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Posted by on in The Academy

Fort Vancouver National Trust now seeks donors to help with renovations

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

With donors following through on their pledges, the Fort Vancouver National Trust has officially acquired downtown Vancouver's historic Academy.

Mike True, president of the National Trust, said Monday that the nonprofit group "took legal ownership of the Academy and surrounding property, effective Jan. 30."

The acquisition hasn't really been in doubt since Trust officials announced six weeks ago they were acquiring the brick landmark at 400 E. Evergreen Blvd.

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Fort Vancouver National Trust's Academy Campaign Chair, Ed Lynch, announced today that the Trust is purchasing the historic Academy building in downtown Vancouver from the Hidden family. "Acquiring and preserving the Academy is critically important as one of the most significant historic buildings in the region.  The Academy embodies the work of its most iconic resident, Mother Joseph, which means it also has national stature."

Following a two-year fundraising campaign, acquisition of the Academy and surrounding property is the first of a three-phase initiative to acquire, renovate and preserve the building, and develop the surrounding property.

Opened in 1873, the Academy served as a school and orphanage, and as the permanent home of the Sisters of Providence.  It was designed and built by Mother Joseph, who went on to establish twenty-nine hospitals, schools, and orphanages throughout the Northwest.  Because of her remarkable achievements, Mother Joseph represents the State of Washington in National Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill.

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The Trust’s $16 million campaign to acquire and renovate the Academy building, and develop its seven acres of grounds, has created tremendous interest and excitement. In addition to support from our community, contributions have been made by donors from Alaska to California with an understanding of the significance of this property as key to Vancouver’s economic development; to preserve the region’s most historic and iconic structure; in recognition of the magnitude of Mother Joseph’s contributions to Washington State and the entire Northwest; because of a personal or spiritual connection to the site; or all of the above.

Among the groups that have embraced this campaign, we have been pleased to connect with Academy alumni, who are reaching out to their former classmates. Additionally, Providence Health and Systems, founded through the work of Mother Joseph and her fellow Sisters of Providence, have launched a campaign among their nearly 70,000 staff members.

Although we have been heartened by such response, there is real urgency in meeting our goal due to our unusually short timeframe. In order to guarantee the property so that the Trust could proceed with our effort, the Hidden brothers, who have been great stewards of the Academy for over 43-years, have generously agreed to keep the property off the market. We have through March 2013 to execute the purchase of $10.6 million. This is in addition to the Hiddens’ willingness to reduce their asking price for the Academy and its prime downtown location by $2.3 million because they are pleased that the Trust will continue to preserve and honor the legacy of this site. The balance of our campaign goal is to fund major building upgrades.

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Posted by on in The Academy
The Academy front entrance

It’s difficult to imagine the Vancouver skyline without the Academy cupola, and what it represents. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Academy is an iconic symbol of Vancouver’s heritage. The building once known as Providence Academy is still regarded as a cornerstone of the Providence Healthcare System’s mission.

The Academy was built in 1873 by Mother Joseph, a Sister of Providence in the Catholic Church. Mother Joseph was a woman of extraordinary compassion, creativity, skill, vision and deep faith who traveled to the West with the aim of filling the unmet needs of people on the frontier. She arrived in Vancouver, Washington from Montreal, Canada in 1856, along with four other sisters to establish an order in the Northwest. Under Mother Joseph’s leadership, more than 30 hospitals, schools and homes were opened for orphans, the elderly and the sick in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and southern British Columbia.

The Academy, Mother Joseph, and the Sisters of Providence are inexorably tied to the Fort Vancouver National Site and the city of Vancouver. Accordingly, the preservation of the Academy is of paramount importance as part of the Fort Vancouver story and its place in Northwest history.

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