TCC holds groundbreaking for Harned Center

H.C. “Joe” Harned had a special birthday on Sept. 6 when he participated in a groundbreaking ceremony that afternoon for the Harned Center for Health Careers at Tacoma Community College.

Current buildings on campus used for training healthcare workers have outlived their design life. Many are cramped and out of date. Lack of space and inadequate equipment causes TCC to turn away some students. This future building, which will cost $39 million, will solve that dilemma by allowing students to learn in a large, modern facility.

The building will face out onto South Mildred Street. Work has begun to the east and west of the building site, where crews are digging 150 geothermal wells. When the building opens, water will be pumped into the wells, which will be about 220 feet deep. The water will circulate through the building, cooling it during warm weather and heating it during the winter.

“This really is a day to celebrate the future and those who made this state-of-the-art building possible,” TCC President Dr. Pamela Transue said. Noting Harned’s 95th birthday, and his presence at the groundbreaking, she observed: “philanthropy must be good for the health.”

Transue noted that the building will prepare students for good jobs in health care fields with much demand for future employees. The public will benefit from the health care they will provide.

“Like Joe, TCC has a deep commitment to success.” -TCC President Dr. Pamela Transue

Liz Dunbar, vice chair of the TCC Board of Trustees, noted the project is creating much-needed construction jobs.

State Senator Derek Kilmer said having skilled workers is a key factor that businesses take into account when deciding where to locate. “We want our colleges to be top notch to prepare people for the careers of today and tomorrow.”

Liz Jacks is a principal in NBBJ Architects, which designed the structure. The firm has worked with college staff for five years in planning the project. Some spaces in the building will allow students to gather, providing for a free exchange of ideas on health care careers. Classrooms will be connected, allowing students in various fields of studies to learn about a number of health care topics.

Gardens on the roof will serve not only an environmental purpose but will also provide space for students and faculty to unwind in a tranquil setting.

Harned spent his career renting houses and managing commercial real estate.

Joining him at the ceremony was his friend David Sarno, a former member of the TCC Foundation. Sarno told Harned about the difficulty assembling the needed financing for the building. Harned provided the funds for medical simulation equipment. It was the single largest donation in the school’s history. He has provided much money for scholarships for students at TCC and the University of Puget Sound.

Construction of the building is expected to begin in late October or early November. It is expected to be completed within 18 to 20 months.

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