Community Police & Fire

Vandals cause $150,000 in damage to foundation’s Community Campus

Posted on June 15th, 2022 By:

Vandals caused an estimated $150,000 in damage to the future home of the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation’s Community Campus.

The unknown vandals broke into a house at the property in the Artondale area on June 9, cut the power and smashed the handle of a kitchen faucet. Water sprayed for four days and caused extensive damage before the vandalism was discovered.

It’s at least the fourth time the property has been damaged in the past two years.

The property includes two unoccupied older homes and other outbuildings.

The unknown suspect or suspects who vandalized the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation’s property on Wollochet Drive arrived in a smaller white van.

In the most recent incident, there is no indication of theft from the building, according to Pierce County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Darren Moss Jr. It appears vandalism was the only point of the break-in. 

Foundation hopes to occupy Community Campus in 2023

The community campus property, near the corner of Wollochet Drive and 40th Street, is the future home of both the foundation’s offices and the Curious By Nature School.

Plans for the 6-acre property call for trails, an amphitheater, a garden education center and more.

The foundation will convert one of the two houses into office space. The other will house Curious By Nature, the nature-based preschool operated by the foundation.

The foundation has been working with Pierce County to get a conditional use permit for the property, allowing it to be used as a preschool and office space. The foundation hopes to occupy the site in 223, according to Chief Operating Officer Ariel Gustanski.

Vandals smashed applicances at the house on the foundation’s Artondale-area property.

Previous incidents of vandalism

Vandals struck the building destined to become a preschool.

Previous break-ins occurred in 2020 and 2021. Someone did extensive damage to the building in February, with windows, sliding doors, appliances and lights smashed. In all, the foundation has had to replace 17 windows, twice each, due to vandalism.

“These are monies that we could be putting back into the community,” Gustanski said. “Instead, we’re having to do this.”

The foundation installed security cameras after the February incident. The footage showed suspects arriving in a smaller white van.

“At this point, it just seems malicious,” Gustanski said.

The suspects appear to have stolen nothing. “It’s just strictly been about harming the home, harming the piece of property,” she said.

Nobody discovered the damaged immediately because the property is not currently occupied.

Where to call with info

The foundation has provided more than $16 million in funding, services and programs to the area since it was formed in 2006.

The foundation provides funding and support primarily in its five core areas: arts and culture; education; parks and the environment; recreation; and social capital. Among its programs are the Gig Harbor Senior Center, Students of Distinction, Community Harvest and more.

Anyone who has information about the vandalism should call the Peninsula Detachment of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department at 253-798-4940 and ask to speak with someone about case number 22-165-00696. 

Vandals broke every window in the house at the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation property.