By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index
You may have seen this project under construction for the past couple years on South Yakima in downtown Tacoma.
While most of the country, if not the world, was in a near-dormant stage of hibernation because of the pandemic, a diligent crew was, literally and figuratively, constructing and investing in the greater Tacoma area’s future.
The 70,000 square foot space will offer facilities and training for future administrative and certified medical assistants, dental assistants and denturists, dental laboratory technicians, occupational therapy assistants, phlebotomists, practical nurses and certified nursing assistants.
Besides academic career preparation for young (and not so young) medical professionals, the community health clinics serve as a hands-on learning experience for students, while providing the community with much-needed low-cost health services – including dental work.
In a distant era, way back during the 2018 legislative session, state legislators appropriated funding for the construction of the new Center for Allied Health Education, formerly known as the Medical Mile Health Science Center, at the Bates Downtown Campus.
The $43.7M project features the demolition of a 1970s-era West Annex to make way for a modern learning facility to house the college’s Allied Health programs, clinics, learning labs and other student spaces.
To put it mildly, it would be difficult to think of an area of preparation more important – and more solid as a career track than any of the health sciences.
One way or another, every single one of us will require these services.
This project is a perfect example of how an investment in the community is also the best investment in the lives of individuals.
Or is it the other way around?
You can get a video tour of the new building here – https://youtu.be/30CEEgo2Bbw.
There was a ceremonial ribbon cutting April 20 with a range of visiting dignitaries and elected officials giving their blessings.
These included several Pierce County and Tacoma City Council members, Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, Congressman Derek Kilmer, Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, Bates Technical College President Lin Zhou, Washington State Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins, Washington State Senators Trudeau and Nobles among others.
With labs, clinics and modern facilities, this complex will contribute to the health and economy of the region for decades to come.
Bates Technical College has been a contributing force to the community (and untold thousands of students) for over 80 years.
If you still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, or have anyone considering their direction in life, you can see the whole list of programs Bates offers here – https://www.batestech.edu/career-pathways/.
I can speak from experience and say that you will not find a more dedicated set of teachers and staff – and students – than within those walls.
Vocational education programs have made a real difference in the lives of countless young people nationwide; they build self-confidence and leadership skills by allowing students to utilize their unique gifts and talents. – Conrad Burns
As I’ve been checking into local health care facilities, I’ve gotten into the habit of asking where the assistants went to school.
A vast majority of them have been locals who attended Bates.
Bates Technical College
Downtown Campus: 1101 South Yakima Ave., Tacoma, WA 98405; Phone: 253.680.7000
South Campus: 2201 S. 78th, Tacoma WA 98409; 253.680.7400
Central Campus: 2320 S. 19th, Tacoma WA 98405; 253.680.7603