The room was overflowing with supporters at the grand opening of the new Tacoma Community House building last Thursday, which doubles the amount of available space for the immigrant services organization. Located in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood, the structure was built directly adjacent to the site that previously housed the organization on South L Street.

Tacoma Community House was founded in 1910 when a group of Methodist women organized a settlement home to serve Italian and Scandanavian immigrants. Through the years, the organization’s efforts have evolved to meet the needs of the various immigrant communities that have come to call Tacoma home. These days, the organization serves immigrants, refugees, and community members from around 100 countries each year. Its determined efforts and high demand for services caused Tacoma Community House to outgrow its previous Hilltop home. In 2015, the nonprofit launched a capital campaign for a new building, raising a total of $13.2 million.

The resulting two-story, 27,000-square-foot building was designed by BCRA and built by Korsmo Construction. Its spacious layout will provide plenty of room to expand the organization’s education, employment, and advocacy services. Upgrades like private client consultation areas and community rooms will allow Tacoma Community House’s staff to better serve its diverse clientele. The previous building will be demolished and serve as a parking lot for the new location.

Addressing the crowd at the building’s grand opening, executive director Lauren Walker Lee said, “Our house has changed over the years, but we remain a welcoming home for over 3,500 immigrants each year.” Other speakers included Tacoma City Council member Keith Blocker and State House Speaker designate Laurie Jinkins, who previously chaired the Tacoma Community House board. Each affirmed the importance of the work done by Tacoma Community House in today’s cultural climate, while celebrating the possibilities for expansion brought by the organization’s new home.

Tacoma Community House is located at 1314 S. L St. For more information on their work, visit their website.