By Jamie Henneman/The Independent Staff
A project to build a castle in Stevens County that would act as an educational center and events venue is hoping to raise building funds while working to gain local support.
The project, Dragon Scale Keep, has been started by a Nevada architect who bought 70 acres in Stevens County because it was the “perfect place for a castle.”
“This site was specifically selected because of its remote, almost inaccessible location, southern exposure, the steep and rocky terrain, and the proximity to Lake Roosevelt. The purpose of a remote location is to allow anticipation to rise as you journey to the fortress,” said founder Marcella Yeates. “The castle is far removed and separate from typical daily experience. This will help the mind be more open to, and expect, new experience.”
Yates said she developed the idea for the unique project due to her work as an architect.
“As an architect, I have always been intrigued with castles,” she related. ”One of the things I really like about medieval fortresses are how they housed all the functions that are needed in a community,” said Yeates. “With all the things we build today, why can’t we build something that will have a lasting permanence and still be functioning hundreds of years from now?”
Yeates said once the castle is built, she wants to use the facility to house a kids camp for 14-16 weeks out of the year. The camp would provide young people the opportunity to learn traditional skills like metallurgy, weaving, puppetry, astronomy and arts classes. The castle could also be used as a venue for other events during the year.
“There are just so many things that we don’t know how to do anymore,” she said. “We are not envisioning this project as a Disneyland, but more of a learning center and a venue that can host all kinds of activities.”
Yeates said the project, which has a $253 million development and construction cost, is “ambitious.”
“I know this is a very ambitious project but we are planning to do it in phases,” she said. “Our first priority is to raise the funds to develop a water system and finish our business plan, which we estimate will cost around $300,000.”
Yeates said as the project moves forward she is also working to inform and engage the local community. She recently spoke at the Colville Chamber of Commerce about the project and is hoping to bring some local residents onto the project’s board of directors.
“Initially, we had wanted to wait before saying too much publically about the project, but we knew that there were some rumors developing about it in the community, so we wanted to go ahead and share about it now to help address any negative information,” Yeates explained.
Having interest and support from the local community is especially important to helping the project meet its goal of being sustainable.
“To be sustainable, we want to use as many local resources as possible and involve the community in the planning and construction phases,” she said.
The next phase of developing the DSK castle in Stevens County will be installing a water system. The estimated cost of the water system, $300,000, is currently being funded through private donations but Yeates said the group is looking for someone with fundraising and organizational leadership abilities to help secure additional monies.
“The process will go much quicker when we can raise funds and we are looking for a volunteer or board member who could help us look at all the potential funding sources,” she related. “We know this project will bring something special to the community. A place like this ignites your imagination. It is going to be fantastic.”
For more information about the DSK castle, visit www.dragonscalekeep.com or email Yeates at email@example.com.