Photos by Steve Shay
Navos Mental Health Solutions celebrated the grand opening of its 52,450 square foot campus in Burien Oct. 25. Attending were, pictured top left, Sherry Harrison, who gave a moving speech about her battle with mental illness, and the help Navos has given her. She is now peer support specialist there. Pictured top, right, KC Exec. Dow Constantine & Sen. Patty Murray who each spoke. Bottom right, pictured left to right, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, Sen. Sharon Nelson, Navos CEO David Johnson, and Rep. Eileen Cody. Bottom left, people enter the new campus for a tour. West Seattle was well-represented as Alki Arts Gallery, & North Admiral's Judy Pigott were recognized for their contributions.

New mental health center celebrates grand opening; Navos campus in Burien wows Dow, Sen. Murray

Capping a six-year drive to move its mental health care facilities out of an old elementary school, under the third-runway flight path, Navos Mental Health Solutions celebrated the grand opening of its 52,450 square foot campus in Burien Oct. 25.

The facilities are located at Ambaum Boulevard Southwest and Southwest 136th St.

Navos CEO David Johnson said the new facility provides a “21st Century model of care.”

He noted officials at Navos, a private nonprofit agency that operates the center, learned in 2006 they would have move out of the old Sunny Terrace Elementary site at 1010 S. 146th St. The center had been there for 30 years.

“I would advise that you don’t fundraise during a great recession,” Johnson joked. He added Navos had no choice in the timing. He pointed to some of the donated furniture given by the Gates Foundation, and quipped that second-hand furniture from Bill Gates is nicer than most people's first-hand furniture.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray told the crowd gathered in Revelle Hall, the facility’s community meeting space, “I am very proud of being a partner in this on the federal level and share the passion with everyone in this room."

She said she had fought hard for parity in spending for mental health services, especially in her work with veterans.

Navos board president Richard Wardell praised employees for “keeping the plane flying as we changed wings.”

Sherry Harrison choked back some tears as she shared her story of being diagnosed with a mental illness at 16 and having her life changed with the help of Navos. She now works for Navos as a peer support specialist.

“This new building represents hope and recovery,” she declared.

State House Speaker Frank Chopp gave a rousing speech congratulating Navos and issuing a call to action.

“You must do better and do more,” Chopp said. “And you must develop an action plan.”

County Executive Dow Constantine also praised the larger facility and noted Public Health Seattle, King County is among the agencies embedded at the new center. He give a gracious nod to former County Executive Randy Revelle, seated in the audience, who served from 1981 to 1985.

Revelle Hall was named in honor of his parents, George Henry Revelle, Jr., and Evelyn Hall Revelle. George served as a King County superior court judge for 29 years, and Randy has acknowledged publicly that his father played a major role in his recovery. He is afflicted with bipolar disorder and is devoted to health-care reform.

Also attending was Judy Pigott of West Seattle, who received applause. She co-founded "Personal Safety Nets" which funded a video featuring children in recovery at Navos.

A 45,000-square-foot, three-story mental health center and wellness center provides a wide range of integrated primary care and mental health services for low income people in Highline and south King County. Those services include counseling, crisis intervention, educational programs and employment services.

The new center is built to LEED Gold standards for environmentally friendly buildings.

The center is decorated with over 50 pieces of art by Henry J Deitrich, donated by Dr. Tom Lonner who owns a large collection. Deitrich was a German Jew who became a refugee in Shanghai shortly before the war. He later would immigrate to America. His paintings contain brazen color used in a decorative manner borrowing from Matisse and Picasso, according to the late artist's website.

"Navos is the perfect place for his work," enthused Diane Venti, who, with husband and artist Tom Wyrick, own and operate Alki Arts Gallery in West Seattle. "It's happy and bright and beautiful. Navos approached us as 'art advisors' and we were on a committee they formed about art choices. They contacted Tom to string and hang it all and I volunteered to 'stage' it."

Next to the main building is a $7,400-square-foot community activities building. It houses a client-run café and catering business and an employment-training center. The adjoining Revelle Hall is a community meeting space.

North of the campus are 22 apartments for center clients.

The new facilities will increase Navos’ overall capacity by 20 percent bringing its total patient total to about 4,000 clients serviced at the new Burien center, Ruth Dykeman Children’s Center on Lake Burien and a West Seattle facility.

Navos also operates a Seattle Children’s Home campus in the Queen Anne neighborhood.

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