TECH announces new art gallery, retail space in Wiley Plaza
HUTCHINSON, KS – In a move designed to increase its accessibility and visibility, Training and Evaluation Center of Hutchinson (TECH) Inc. plans to open a new art gallery and retail space in the first floor of the newly redeveloped Wiley Plaza.
“This represents a new chapter for the people with disabilities who we serve, and for the community that has been so supportive of TECH” said Brenda Maxey, President and CEO. “We are excited for what this means for the visibility of the role played by persons we serve and for our organization.”
The new space in Wiley Plaza will be completely accessible and has the added appeal of being in the city’s downtown. In addition to the art gallery and retail space, it also will include TECH’s administrative offices.
“What a great day for downtown Hutchinson,” said Jim Seitnater, Director of Hutchinson Downtown Development. “TECH has a wonderful history in our community, and now it will have a home in one of the historic jewels of our downtown, Wiley Plaza.”
Maxey said the move would not be possible without a deliberate and strategic financial plan worked out over the past few years by TECH’s staff and Board of Directors, and the incredible generosity and cooperation of Manske & Associates, owner and developer of Wiley Plaza.
Jack and Jay Manske, co-owners of Manske & Associates, said TECH represents a tenant for the commercial space at the building that is compatible with their vision for the renovation of this iconic building.
TECH will occupy 8,250 square feet of space, which includes part of the first floor and all of the mezzanine. An art gallery and retail space for work done by TECH Artists will be on the first floor. Administrative offices will be on the mezzanine. The new space is within a few blocks of TECH Adult Life Skills location and the TECH Art Studio, where TECH artists produce artwork that will be for sale in the gallery.
For more than 30 years, TECH has operated out of a warehouse that was a former machine shop near Avenue A and the Highway 61 bypass. Despite many upgrades and expansions over the years, the building could never be made 100% accessible, which is not acceptable for an organization that serves people with disabilities, Maxey said.
“We believe this really is a win-win-win for the people we serve, for downtown development and for the community as a whole,” Maxey said.
Mark Borecky Construction was chosen by Manske & Associates as the general contractor of the project, which was designed by Putnam Architecture. Construction began last week, with plans to move in by January 2017. Maxey said TECH plans to sell the existing warehouse where it has been located.
“The timing just seems right,” Maxey said. “We feel very fortunate to be able to make this announcement and continue to fulfill TECH’s mission to serve people of all ages with disabilities.”