An air of renewal and regeneration flows quietly through the halls and art-filled open spaces of the repurposed Soundview Center in Langley, which recently opened on Third Street as a center for individual and community well-being. An open house on Oct. 5 welcomes everyone to see the transformation of this historic structure and enjoy the serenity of the deck and gardens.
History digs deep in the land and structure, harboring tales from early South Whidbey and now cradling repurposed iron, wood and materials from across the island. Shannon Arndt, the new owner of the building along with her husband, Damon, explained that the structure was once the 1901 homestead of Langley’s Monson family.
The family matriarch, Emma Monson, happened to be one of Langley’s groundbreaking, all-female city council members in 1920, and two of her daughters held positions as city clerks.
When Damon Arndt, hands-on owner of Next Generation Design and Build, unearthed portions of the original home during the remodel, it set the stage for embracing local history in creative ways. The original structural boards now grace the walls of the building’s entry reception, while siding came from salvaged island trees after safety removal projects.
Even the eclectic artworks infused into every crook and corner of the 6,000-square-foot building have stories to tell. Artist and ironworker Tim Leonard created the stunning deck handrails by repurposing iron bars from the historic Langley water tower, while the smooth “New Growth” sculpture by acclaimed artist Sue Taves is gracefully juxtaposed with Leonard’s aging iron.
Taves contributes more than physical art to the building’s new purpose; she’s also part of the health and well-being therapy team that now works out of Soundview Center. While Taves specializes in neurological rehabilitation, Shannon Arndt is the force behind Lone Lake Physical Therapy, where she is a board certified specialist in a technique known as “strain and counterstrain” that restores the body’s ability to heal.
The center is home to a highly trained collection of health-based businesses, such as traditional physical and occupational therapy as well as massage, acupuncture and well-being classes. The first tenants to move in, along with Lone Lake Physical Therapy, are Acupressure and Massage Northwest and Tom Primavera, Occupational Hand Therapist.
What was originally a chapel during the building’s stint as the old Visser funeral home now pulses with activity from a plethora of classes that are open to the community. Many focus on movement as a primary component of physical, mental and emotional well-being, such as transitional movement with Daunne Zinger and Feldenkrais classes with Julie Gersten.
Alisha Walsh now operates her Meaningful Movement Dance & Yoga classes out of Soundview Center, with sessions for both children and adults. Her primary focus is on creative dance, movement and yoga for kids, but she also teaches adult jazz and slow-flow vinyasa.
On Wednesdays from 6 to 7 p.m., the entire community is invited to drop in for Walsh’s quiet and contemplative yin yoga on a donation basis, with all proceeds going to fund scholarships to help children be involved in the program. It’s part of the center’s ROOTS program in partnership with Healing Circles.
ROOTS provides free community wellness classes and events focusing on everything from social connectedness to exploration and creativity, stress and resilience, mental and physical health, environment and even finances.
The program has a wide reach, with upcoming community-building events that include game nights and a children’s lantern walk in December.
Every Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., the garden is free and open to the public for peaceful meditation, unless the space is reserved for a private function.
As Soundview Center springs to life, the Arndts acknowledge a wide curiosity about the building’s past as an end-of-life venue. Shannon speaks of its transformation from funeral home to a wellness center.
“We see it as a wonderful transition; from a place where lives were remembered, grieved and honored to a place where intention and effort is put into taking care of ourselves and our community and a place where we can gather to celebrate and appreciate each and every day,” she said.
The community is invited to the Open House on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 432 Third Street in Langley.