PORT ORCHARD — Construction has begun on a community services center that will serve thousands of low-income and jobless South Kitsap residents each month.
The KCR South Kitsap Community Services Center at Jackson and Lund avenues will be finished in a year.
Behind it on the same campus, eight cottages for low-income people are planned for construction as soon as possible, though a crucial chunk of funding has yet to be confirmed.
With so many of its clients calling South Kitsap home, Kitsap Community Resources has long wanted a permanent satellite there. For the past 10 years, it has had to make do with quarters in a rundown former grocery story on Bay Street. Many clients went to Bremerton.
"The whole idea is to have countywide services to South Kitsap residents in South Kitsap," KCR Executive Director Larry Eyer said.
The 6,800 square feet of space in the new building is about the same as the Bay Street facility but is configured more efficiently to handle more people. The Bay Street facility will close when the new center opens, and its employees will move, too. No new hiring is expected.
Services under the public nutrition program Women, Infants and Children will take up most of the first floor. Job-seeking services, including counselors and a computer lab, will take up most of the second.
Services for veterans, as well as the traditional KCR services such as helping needy people make their rent and pay their utility bills will be offered. Programs such as KCR's effort to improve weatherization of homes belonging to low-income people will be on tap, too.
The Kitsap Adult Center for Education, which teaches English as a second language, will have space there.
The total cost of the center and the cottages is $5.2 million.
The money for the center is in hand, coming from WIC, state and county sources and private donors.
While some of the funding has been procured for the eight cottages, construction depends on KCR receiving $1.6 million it has asked for from the Washington State Housing Trust Fund. KCR leaders won't know whether they've received it until October. If they don't, the cottages, each with two bedrooms and 1,100 square feet of space, will have to wait.
"We're having to do this in two phases because of the way the funding is coming in," said Mike Botkin, KCR project director.
The cottages were planned next to the center with the thought that residents would be the same ones in need of services.
Walking paths and parking are planned on the 2.2-acre site.
Project designers hope to achieve a "silver" designation under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. That means construction and designing of the building took a lighter toll on the environment, and that the building can be operated using less energy.
Wenzlaucq Architects and Fairbank Construction Co., both of Bainbridge Island, are behind the new facility.