The city of Darrington, Wash., received a $6 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration recently for a 94-acre campus to develop cutting-edge timber technology. The Darrington Wood Innovation Center is expected to bring about 150 jobs to the town, and will house advanced wood manufacturers and promote education and conservation.
The federal grant was the last piece of funding necessary to start construction on the center next door to the Darrington Cemetery, Mayor Dan Rankin said. The facility is expected to produce enough cross-laminated timber — an environmentally sustainable construction material — to build 1,000 affordable housing units per year.
Phase one of the project includes an innovation center, where about 30 acres will host a cross-laminated timber manufacturer (CLT), as well as an adjoining modular construction facility using the in-house CLT to build multifamily housing throughout the region, the publication HeraldNet reports. CLT, a form of mass timber, is a strong low-carbon alternative to concrete and steel, built by sandwiching multiple solid wood panels together.
The next phase involves building out an additional 30 acres to include education and wood innovation.
A facility in Spokane produces mass timber, reports HeraldNet, but the Darrington center will be the first in the nation to put the material into modular housing, said U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, who has supported development of timber technology.
“This is exactly what we’ve been hoping for on a national scale,” Cantwell said in an interview. “And here’s a rural town in Snohomish County that’s going to pull it off, so we’re so proud of them.”