Legendary architect may be involved in proposed Youth Wellness Center

Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman (right) stands with legendary architect Steven Holl. The two are working together on the proposed Bremerton Youth Wellness Center. - Courtesy photo
Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman (right) stands with legendary architect Steven Holl. The two are working together on the proposed Bremerton Youth Wellness Center.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman wants to fight juvenile obesity.

So he’s getting a world famous architect to help out.

World renowned Steven Holl, a 1966 Bremerton High School graduate, has been tabbed by Bozeman to help come up with some designs for the Bremerton Youth Wellness Center.

The building, which is in the preliminary stages now, is targeted to help tackle a problem Bozeman feels strongly about.

“Today kids eat the wrong foods,” he said. “They don’t exercise. They don’t understand health care.

“It’s a huge issue and I’m excited that we’re trying to do something about it.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 percent of children can be defined as overweight or obese, which has tripled since 1980.

Obesity-associated hospital costs have tripled over two decades as well, going from $35 million to $127 million.

Bozeman also wants to help low-income families who may not have access to health care to be better informed about how to be healthy.

Children who are uninsured or covered by Medicare are more likely to be overweight than children who are covered, according to an American Journal of Public Health study.

“I’m really concerned about that,” Bozeman said.

As for Holl’s involvement, Bozeman said he had told him years ago when he was first elected mayor that he wanted to help on a project in his hometown.

So when this came along, Bozeman simply called and asked him when Holl came out to visit his parents awhile back.

“He cares about his community,” Bozeman said. “He loves this place. It’s real exciting to have someone of that stature working on this project.”

Holl, considered by some to be a “starchitect,” has won numerous architecture awards for his work. Time magazine named Holl “America’s Best Architect” in 2001 for his work.

His most famous works include the Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum in Helsinki, Finland and the Simmons Hall at MIT.

Holl also designed buildings in Seattle, including the Bellevue Arts Museum and the Chapel of St. Ignacius at Seattle University.

Bozeman said Holl will work with local design firm Rice Fergus Miller Architecture and Planning in coming up with drawings for the new building.

“This is a major effort,” Bozeman said. “Having Steven Holl’s name on it will help us.”

Also assisting in the project is P.S. Reilly, the CEO of the Athena Institute in Seattle. The analyst firm uses progressive ideas and green technology to create what they call “brilliant buildings.”

Bozeman hopes to get grant funding and donations from national foundations dealing with obesity and health to fund the building. He’ll also work with the Bremerton School District and local nonprofits on the building.

He also hopes to have a proposal ready in the next six months in order to acquire funding.

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