December 2014 News
Amidst Magnuson Park’s wide variety of built and natural community resources sits Solid Ground’s Santos Place, an historic WWII soldiers’ barracks that now houses 42 formerly homeless men and women. Originally renovated to transitional housing in the late 1990s, by last year time had taken a toll on the building both at the exterior and interior – a variety of mechanical units clung to deteriorating asbestos siding, windows were nearing failure, and tree roots snarled too close to the building, threatening the foundation. For Solid Ground, the need to upgrade the building and its systems was mission critical. In affordable housing, a crumbling facility is a resource at risk and does not send the message of human renewal – but restoration of this historic building into a durable, stable and safe structure would offer a meaningful message for residents.
The main challenge in renewing Santos Place was a human one: the building was to remain open and operational during the entire project with all 42 units occupied. To minimize disruptions to Santos Place residents and programs, construction was planned carefully. During the course of the project over 50 meetings were held with residents to keep them informed of upcoming inconveniences, and work was completed in sections instead of building-wide. Improvements included new windows, insulation, siding, roofing, and mechanical systems. Due to the building’s location within the Sand Point Naval Base Historic District, exterior work on siding and windows required review and approval from the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board and the Washington State Historic Preservation Office. New interior ventilation, individual in-unit thermostats, and new heat pump heating systems in common areas add to the interior comfort while providing energy cost savings and allowing the removal of aged mechanical equipment from exterior walls. To accomplish Santos Place’s transformation, Solid Ground and Ally Community Development leveraged a combination of city and state energy efficiency funds to supplement other funding for the project.
Comfort is a key word that residents use to describe the restored building. For this mutual housing model, Santos Place provides a sturdy respite for 42 formerly homeless individuals, a third of which are veterans. The hard work of our team including Solid Ground, Ally Community Development, and Walsh Construction created an enduring iteration of the Santos Place building where residents can find their own restoration and renewal.
To read about Solid Ground’s programs, including transitional and permanent housing, visit www.solid-ground.org.