Tacoma celebrates Center for Urban Waters grand opening Sept. 9

A public celebration marking the opening of the Center for Urban Waters, 326 East D Street, is set for Thurs., Sept. 9, at 1:30 p.m. Gov. Chris Gregoire, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland will headline the program.

The event will feature the building partners — the City of Tacoma, Puget Sound Partnership and University of Washington Tacoma. Participants will include David Dicks, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership; James Parvey, assistant public works director for the City of Tacoma; Dr. Patricia Spakes, chancellor of the UW Tacoma; and Jim Waldo, chair of the Urban Waters Board of Directors.

Building tours, educational displays and refreshments will follow the program.

Because on-site parking is extremely limited, shuttles will run from the Tacoma Dome and the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St. Details are posted on the Urban Waters Web site at http://www.cityoftacoma.org/urbanwaters , or people can leave a message at (253) 591-5051 for more information.

The Center for Urban Waters is a 51,000-square-foot building housing City of Tacoma Environmental Services labs and offices, UW Tacoma researchers and Puget Sound Partnership staff. This collaboration brings together environmental scientists, analysts, engineers and policymakers to develop and apply the best possible science to restoring and protecting Puget Sound.

This project is the result of nearly a decade of work by many civic leaders and organizations that dreamed of a premier research center committed to developing solutions to the problems facing urban bay communities. In the future, the community partners envision attracting additional environmental research and related enterprises in support of the original mission and building a growing community of world-class researchers.

Construction on the facility, which was built to LEED-Platinum standards, began in March 2009, and substantial completion was achieved in April 2010. City staff began moving into the building in late April, followed by the UW Tacoma research group. The Puget Sound Partnership is moving into the building now.