Tacoma Goodwill set to unveil new building plans

Gov. Chris Gregoire will unveil site plans and design drawings Dec. 5 for a new Work Opportunity Center, an estimated $20 million facility that Tacoma Goodwill will build on its Hilltop neighborhood campus starting next year.
Late last year, Tacoma Goodwill Board officers unanimously approved an initiative to triple services in Pierce County, to 6,000 people in the next five years. The initiative was based on a 2005 University of Washington Tacoma Milgard School of Business study on Pierce County employment that estimated the population who could need Goodwill’s job-placement and training services will reach 70,000 by 2010.
“We’ve made our current building work for more than 40 years,” said Tacoma Goodwill CEO Terry A. Hayes. “The challenge now is to significantly expand our ability to provide job training services to the growing number of people with disabilities and disadvantages who need our help going to work.”
Goodwill moved into its current location in 1965, then training 518 clients — placing 52 in jobs — while managing three stores. In 2007, Goodwill served 3,947 clients, found jobs for 1,011, and operates 20 stores.
“The initiative represents a significant investment for the benefit of the whole community,” said Jim Walton, former Tacoma City Manager and 2007 Goodwill Board president. “Goodwill’s expansion of services will provide education, employment and training clearly needed for the many vulnerable populations in our area.”
Money raised for the project will come from a combination of public and private dollars and Goodwill’s own funds. A fundraising goal will be announced next year. Because Goodwill is a unique, self-supporting nonprofit, the agency will pay for ongoing operational costs.
The Work Opportunity Center will be located at the southeast corner of South 27th Street and Tacoma Avenue and built with environmentally conscious materials; glass to invite daylight and brick-and-metal construction to compliment neighboring buildings. It will feature four levels of expanded space for needed job-placement and training programs, technological advancements and administration.
A centerpiece of the 63,000-square-foot building will be a Youth Career Development Center at ground level. Young adults will be greeted with a vibrant “Job Fair” atmosphere featuring 10 youth career and counseling service agencies from across the area.
Technological advancements in the new building will include a distance learning center with the ability to broadcast meetings. An adaptive technology lab will teach people with disabilities computer skills and will be more than two times larger than current facilities
Board and classrooms will provide needed meeting space for area organizations. A job resource room and cafeteria will be open to the public. Public art will be featured throughout.
The building will also be LEED Silver certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. A Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for “green” building construction emphasizes Goodwill’s efforts as a stewardship of our resources.
BCRA of Tacoma is the architect for the facility. Rushforth Taylor Construction is the contractor. Plans call for work to begin in 2008 with an opening in 2009.