Goodwill Tacoma set to break ground on new Work Opportunity Center

Tacoma Goodwill announced it will host a groundbreaking ceremony Weds., June 25 for its new Work Opportunity Center, which will provide job-training and placement services for people in need.

The ceremony will start at 1 p.m. at Tacoma Goodwill’s Workforce Development Center, 714 S. 27th St., in Tacoma. The event will include Goodwill program participants, officials with the nonprofit agency, and representatives of partnering agencies.

Goodwill moved into its current location in 1965, then training 518 clients while managing three stores. In 2007, Goodwill served 3,947 clients, found jobs for 1,011, and operates 20 stores.

“The groundbreaking [will represent] an historic day for Goodwill,” said Bob Bruback, Goodwill Board president and senior vice president at Heritage Bank. “It is the culmination of decades of changing lives by helping people gain independence through work.”

The groundbreaking will feature a razing of existing buildings on the site with help from participants in Tacoma Goodwill’s YouthBuild program. YouthBuild provides young adults, ages 18-24, with construction training and classroom experience to pass a GED exam.

The 63,000-square-foot facility, estimated to cost $20 million, will be a LEED Silver certified “green” building. The centerpiece will be a Youth Career Center, an innovative partnership of 10 youth career service agencies from across the area. It is expected to open in 2009.

In March, Tacoma Goodwill announced that longtime supporter Hugh S. Ferguson placed a $1 million gift to the organization for its new work center. It was the fourth $1 million-plus gift Goodwill has received toward the $20 million project. At the time, Tacoma Goodwill had 70 percent of the funds needed for the building — up from 50 percent since unveiling plans in December 2007.

The last capital campaign for Goodwill took place when its existing building was constructed in the mid-1960s. Tacoma Goodwill was founded in 1921 and has located its facilities in the Hilltop neighborhood since that time.