Since it first opened in 2006, the founders of the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS) in Redmond have wanted to build a facility that would act as a place of worship as well as a gathering place for members and the surrounding community.
And after two years of scouting locations, fundraising and construction, that vision has become a reality with the opening of the new MAPS Center at 17550 N.E. 67th Ct. in Redmond. The center has been open on a limited basis since the end of July and on Saturday, MAPS will hold a special grand opening event from 4-6 p.m. The event is for invited guests and will include City of Redmond Mayor John Marchione, State Attorney General Rob McKenna and David Myers from the Department of Homeland Security’s Director of Faith Based Initiatives office.
“It’s an occasion to thank people for their support,” said MAPS member Salah Dandan.
The nearly 50,000 square-foot building used to house a technology manufacturing company and is located in an industrial neighborhood just northeast of Marymoor Park. MAPS’ previous location, which had also been in Redmond, was about 3,000 square feet.
The new facility cost MAPS about $5 million, most of which was raised through fundraising within the local community, Dandan said, adding that the organization are still fundraising.
“I think that speaks to the need for a center like this. It really does,” said MAPS board of trustees member Catherine England.
England said with the bigger facility they have more space for religious service, among other things. This was proven during the first jumu’ah, or Friday afternoon prayer service, on July 29. The old MAPS facility could hold about 300 or 400 people while that first prayer service in the new building brought in about 1,100 people.
“We didn’t expect that many people,” England said.
She laughed and said they actually ran out of lunches, which the mosque provided after the service.
In addition to being a mosque for worship, England (right) said the new MAPS facility will offer various religious and non-religious activities for youth including religious instruction, a robotics program and an art program. There is also the opportunity for sports such as basketball and soccer, along with activities for adults such as first aid and CPR training.
England said as MAPS has expanded its services beyond Islam, they have worked heavily on interfaith activities and reaching out to other religious groups and community groups as well.
Dandan said MAPS recently held a dinner with representatives from a number of these groups and said things went well for them.
“We got very, very positive feedback,” he said.
The building has been open since the first prayer service in July, but not to full capacity as construction is not totally complete.
England said during construction, the main floor of the building was stripped and gutted and they built up from there. She said because they were working with an existing building, they had to find a way for their vision of the center to fit within the physical constraints of the building.
While the building interior features traditional Islamic architecture such as archways and domed doorways, not much has been done to the exterior other than installing additional doors. However, a dome has been added to the top.
England said they wanted to differentiate the building as a house of worship but still blend in among the neighboring buildings. She said they didn’t want it to be an assault on the senses for visitors.
England said they hope to expand and offer health and fitness services once the gyms (one for men, one for women) are completed. MAPS will also have a kitchen and banquet hall to be used for both Muslim and non-Muslim events. England added that they also want to eventually offer social services and serve different elements of society like a YMCA.
“The big things are done,” she said. “Now we’re down to refining the details.”