News

As community center goes up, will $$ come in?

The Mirror

Federal Way’s new community center near Celebration Park is beginning to take shape while the hunt continues for donations of a half million dollars for project extras.

Donna Hanson, the city’s parks director, said workers have been preparing the site for construction of a road, parking lots and other infrastructure for the $20.6 million, 60,000-square-foot facility that’s schedled to open in early 2007. The center will include a fitness area, a three-part gymnasium, two swimming pools, roooms for classes and parties, a seniors’ lounge and a large multi-purpose room.

Last month, workers dug the large, square holes to lay the foundation for the gym. Workers also dug and compacted the part of the site where the road will connect to the center.

In late October, workers finished the building pad, started grading the road for a roundabout, and began installing utilities and excavating for the lap pool. Drainage ponds for the overall site also are under construction.

Meanwhile, the city is about a month into its effort to raise $500,000 to pay for some features of the center that aren’t covered by the project budget. They include kitchen equipment, a climbing wall, fitness equipment and landscaping.

Major donors can have parts of the center named for them, and tiles will be engraved with the names of contributing individuals and organizations.

Donations for the Federal Way project can be made by calling city officials at 835-6921 and on-line at www.nwparks.org. The Web site is for Northwest Parks Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps organize financial support of parks, pools, trails, playfields and other recreation facilities regionally. The group is working with Federal Way on its fund-raising drive.

Other projects that Northwest Parks Foundation is assisting include a proposed 27-acre sports field complex for King County off State Route 18 near Auburn and Kent, a playground in Kirkland and fields at Magnuson Park in Seattle.

The group’s board of directors includes representatives or executives –– current or retired –– of several major corporations, including Microsoft, Windermere Real Estate and Vulcan Inc. The organization was founded by billionaire entrepreneur Paul Allen to manage his personal and professional endeavors.

Also serving as members of the parks foundation board are a marketing official of the Seattle Seahawks professional football team and Phil Talmadge, a former state Supreme Court justice and state senator.

Allen owns the Seahawks and co-founded Microsoft.

Jan Owen, a co-chairman of Federal Way’s fund-raising drive, which officially began in late September, said donors can help give the city its “first community center project of its type.”

Klahanee Lake Community Center, much smaller and without most of the features of the new project, was sold by the city in September for $1.1 million. The city plans to continue offering recreational programs at the building through 2006 by leasing space from its new owner, Evergreen City Basketball Academy.

Staff writer Erica Hall contributed to this report.

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