Navos CEO Dr. David Johnson said the merger with Ruth Dykeman and the Seattle Children's Center will result in beautifying and modernizing the Lake Burien campus while updating services. Pictured is a portion of their campus on 10th Ave. SW where a new apartment building facility for young adults will be built. The white gymnasium is beyond repair, and must go, he said.
New Ruth Dykeman campus will improve landscape, services, Navos CEO assures Lake Burien residents
Navos Mental Health Solutions CEO Dr. David Johnson told the Highline Times that its merger with Ruth Dykeman Children's Center in 2010, and the Seattle Children's Home last July, will soon result in beautifying and modernizing the Lake Burien campus while also updating services for children, youth and young adults.
Currently, Navos continues to operate the Children's Home in Queen Anne. The Children's Home will share the Dykeman campus in the fall of 2014 once construction is complete. Navos is selling the Queen Anne property to help fund the construction, and new programs.
The seven-and-a-half acre Ruth Dykeman campus will break ground June 30 on a new, two-story apartment building on an acre or so of vacant land bordering 10th Ave. SW just south of St Elizabeth Episcopal Church and 152nd. Other new construction and updating will occur in and around the Youth Residential Cottages. Navos will hold a public meeting sharing more details March 28, 6:30 p.m. on its Ambaum Ave. campus.
"Our Ruth Dykeman campus is very much secluded with beautiful trees and rolling grounds," said Johnson. "That's absolutely the tenor, the atmosphere, we want to maintain. We're working with Mithun Architects who famously designed IslandWood on Bainbridge Island, an environmental learning center. In terms of construction we very much respect that this neighborhood is accustomed to looking across the lake and seeing a bucolic setting. That will continue.
"They're (Mithun) building a beautiful apartment building two stories tall, pleasant looking, and not very visible from the lake," he said. "Very important is that we are not opening access. People won't be able to drift in on 10th Avenue. This campus is a secluded sanctuary and we need to keep ity as such. The children, the thing we need for them is to be safe, secure. The new building will be a transitional living program here for young adults ages 16 to 25 who are perhaps in school, or starting a first job.
"It's a time when people try to find themselves," he continued. "They can walk to the bus station, their jobs, but they will also be part of this support campus. We are also looking to help young adults coming out of the foster care system who at 18 the world generally says are all grown up now. When you think of their difficult pasts they're not ready to be on their own.
"We're probably going to replace 'The Mansion', the big blue building," he said. "We will probably remodel the residential treatment cottages, and a building from the 50's or 60's. The mansion is in such disrepair. We will be saving the watch tower, which is iconic.
"We understand that people are sentimental about our big field house gym that was one time in downtown Burien, then moved," he said. "It is in terrible disrepair. The floor literally is falling through. We are looking to recycle materials from the building to construct a new gym. We're sensitive to people's desires, their sentimental attachment to this building, and understandably.
"The campus is not becoming a McDonalds, a Starbucks, or a housing development," he said. "This will look from the outside very much the same, improved with something better."
Earlier this month Navos received much recognition. Dr. Johnson was chosen for a prestigious “Visionary Leadership Award” by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. Navos was awarded the Discover Burien "Nonprofit of the Year Award", and Navos CFO, Jerry Scott became a finalist for the Puget Sound Business Journal's "2013 CFO of the Year Award for nonprofit organizations", all this on the heals of last October's grand opening of its 52,450 square foot campus on Ambaum.