$43M health education center headed to downtown Tacoma Bates campus

Expect a flurry of activity around Bates Technical College’s downtown Tacoma campus in the next year and a half.

The college is starting construction of a roughly 70,000-square-foot Center for Allied Health Education, which will replace the West Annex along Yakima Avenue. The project was formerly known as the Medical Mile Health Science Center.

The $43.7 million project will house 11 health education programs in the fields of health, including nursing, dentistry and occupational therapy. Anticipated completion is set for May 2021.

A groundbreaking is scheduled Friday.

“The new building will increase access to top-quality programs through increased capacity and the use of shared workspaces. Through this, we intend to help address shortages in allied health occupations in Pierce County and beyond,” Bates spokesperson Chelsea Lindquist wrote in a statement.

The construction will require periodic closures of small sections of Yakima Avenue, South 13th Street and Altheimer Street.

“These occurrences will be limited and relatively short in duration. There will not be any full road closures,” Lindquist said.

The West Annex, a 1970s-era building that will be demolished, used to host career training programs, shipping and receiving and rooftop parking. Those services have been located to other campuses.

Additional shuttles from the Central/Mohler Campus to Downtown Campus have started running last month.

“As the project progresses, parking areas are being reallocated to meet the needs of students. We are also working with local businesses to identify neighboring lots we may use throughout the duration of the project,” Lindquist said.

The state Legislature dedicated $40.8 million to the cause in its state capital budget in May.


What: Center for Allied Health Education groundbreaking ceremony

When: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday (Oct. 11)

Where: Bates Technical College Downtown Campus Auditorium, 1101 South Yakima Avenue