TAF Community Learning Space: Breaking ground, breaking barriers

Groundbreaking for the Community Learning Space

Today, King County Parks, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and King County Councilmember Joe McDermott joined Technology Access Foundation’s (TAF) Trish Millines-Dziko to officially break ground on the TAF Community Learning Space in Lakewood Park in White Center. In addition to housing TAF’s offices, the 24,000 square foot Community Learning Space (CLS) will feature flexible high-tech classroom spaces as well as community meeting space. The new building will be key to TAF’s goal of providing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to 20,000 public school students of color every year by 2020.

TAF and King County first envisioned the CLS in 2005, and this unique public-private partnership became part of King County Parks’ Community Partnerships and Grants (CPG) Program in 2006 when the County committed $2 million in seed funding to launch the project.  The CLS is a marquee project that highlights King County Parks’ successful efforts to enhance communities by developing strategic partnerships that don’t require significant on-going operating and maintenance investments by the division.

Mock-up of the Community Learning Space

TAF has secured additional funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft, the Raikes Foundation, and many private donors, as well as state and federal support, leveraging the County’s investment multiple times over in this $12 million project. As part of the partnership, TAF will sign a 50-year lease and will be responsible maintaining and operating the building and programming.

The CLS is also seeking to be LEED Gold, the highest level of green building certification. Some of the building’s environmental features include:

  • Re-use of salvaged materials throughout the building, such as wood beams for the pedestrian walkway, salvaged doors for desktops, old firehoses for office partitions, and glass from car windshields for bathroom tile
  • Rain gardens to catch and filter run-off from the building’s roof
  • Water and energy conservation measures, such as through the installation of drought tolerant native plants in the landscaping and waterless urinals and low-flow bathroom fixtures

TAF has secured the major portion – 92% – of the initial building costs, and there are still opportunities to get involved and support this exciting project through TAF’s capital campaign.

See mock-ups of the building here.

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