Center for Urban Waters on course for spring completion

Eight months after construction began on the Center for Urban Waters, City officials report the building is on schedule to open between April and May of next year.

When completed, the $40 million, 52,000 square foot facility will be home to staff from the City’s Environmental Services analytical laboratories and Science and Engineering Division, the University of Washington Tacoma’s new marine research program, and an office of the Puget Sound Partnership.

“It’s all good news,” said Public Works Division Manager Jim Parvey during a presentation Dec. 9 to Tacoma City Council’s Environment and Public Works Committee. Parvey updated the committee on the construction progress.

The City is pursuing LEED Platinum certification, the highest possible rating awarded under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. The building is slated to have a green roof, natural ventilation, a ground source heat pump, and daylighting.

Environmental concern has even extended to the construction phase. According to Parvey, pieces of the old municipal dock will be recycled and re-used for wall coverings and interior roof panelling, and Turner Construction installed water filters so every employee can refill their recycled water bottles. “It’s one of the cleanest construction sites you will ever see,” he said.

One issue that still needs to be resolved is transit and parking for 120 employees who will work in the new building. There will be 30 on-site parking spots, and 20 on-street parking spots. One idea is to set up a shuttle service that would run between the Center for Urban Waters, Tacoma Dome Station, the City’s central sewage treatment plant, and the Port of Tacoma. However, it is estimated the weekday service would cost $125,000 per year. Another plan calls for purchasing a Scootcar that would be shared by the tenants for use in running errands. Ride-sharing and facilities for bicycle commuting will also be encouraged.

Construction of the building’s dock should be completed by the end of this month, and a majority of the building’s construction should be completed next March. A grand-opening celebration will be held in June 2010. For more information, visit .