Arc of Tri-Cities' new facility to have ribbon-cutting Nov. 17

The Arc of Tri-Cities soon will open a new building that has been a decade in the making from initial vision to ribbon-cutting.

The nonprofit agency serving people with developmental disabilities will have a public open house Nov. 17 to show off the 14,000-square-foot building.

But board members still have about $450,000 left to raise to pay off the construction.

Capital campaign co-chairs Jerome and Josie Delvin have led the fundraising effort that allowed the agency to break ground in Richland's Spaulding Business Park in October 2009.

They're hoping to quickly raise the rest of the money so that no debt will be owed for the $3.6 million building, meaning the agency's money can be put toward programs for clients rather than paying a mortgage.

And in an era when state and federal money for social programs, such as the ones serving people with developmental disabilities, is drying up, every dollar The Arc can put into programs counts.

"We are frantically looking for how to fund our programs," said Theresa Long, vice president of The Arc's board.

The new building replaces The Arc's existing facility in central Richland and provides space for expanded programs for the agency's 2,000 clients with developmental disabilities.

The Arc offers programs ranging from vocational skills training to children's activities for people with developmental disabilities.

Existing facilities on Williams Boulevard in Richland are about 8,000 square feet, but there isn't enough recreational space and classrooms end up crowded.

The agency also has hundreds of people on a waiting list for services, but it hasn't been able to accommodate them in the existing facility.

Major donations toward the project have included $100,000 from Washington River Protection Solutions, a $250,000 gift from Mission Support Alliance to outfit a computer lab in the new building and a $250,000 pledge from Lockheed Martin Information Technology that will come in the form of computers, software and technical support over five years.

To donate, call The Arc at 946-5157.