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January 30, 2012

Gates Foundation adds visitor center

Photo courtesy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [enlarge]

Wondering what the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is all about? You can find out Saturday when the foundation opens a visitor center at 440 Fifth Ave. N.

The 11,000-square-foot LEED gold space is adjacent to the Seattle Center Fifth Avenue North Garage, just south of the main entrance to the foundation's headquarters. Large windows along Fifth will allow pedestrians to see exhibits inside.

The center has four galleries:

• Voices Gallery tells stories about people the foundation works with around the world.

• Family and Foundation Gallery focuses on local work, with an interactive wall about how the foundation began and a 10-by-10-foot floor-mounted plasma screen.

• Partnerships Gallery shows what grants have been made and how grantees set goals.

• Innovation and Inspiration Gallery has touch screens that let visitors offer solutions to real-world issues.

The center also has a theater that shows videos about the work of foundation partners.

Foundation staff developed the center with design support from Olson Kundig Architects. The general contractor was Sellen Construction.

The center is free and will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.


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