"It's beautiful, I never thought it would be like this," said a day worker named Pablo after new chairs, tables, desks, plants and art filled the place in less than an hour. "And it's ours, you know?"
The former dry cleaning building next to the train tracks at 113 Escuela Ave. underwent a complete renovation in recent months, receiving a new roof, walls, windows and low-maintenance landscaping. The new location will be open for business on Monday, Nov. 1.
As the furniture came in, director Maria Marroquin recalled the way the center has existed in ramshackle state over the years. "Everything's matching, it's a big change."
"The timing couldn't have been more perfect," said Roche facilities project manager Janis Zinn, referring to the need to get rid of the furniture as the Palo Alto Roche campus closes.
The Day Worker Center of Mountain View will be one of the few in the country to be owned by a day worker center, debt-free. Close to $1 million in donations were raised to complete the project, Marroquin said.
Dozens of day workers will use the facility between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, waiting for homeowners and contractors to employ them for anything from housekeeping to landscaping and construction work. Doubling as a sort of community center, there are also volunteer-taught English classes, lunch and a mobile health clinic visits the workers regularly.
Customers of the new center will be greeted by a new parking lot with nine spaces, a lobby area with chairs and a marble-topped table, a piece of custom bronze artwork by Jerry Smith depicting day workers on the street and a new office for director Marroquin and her staff.
Beyond the lobby there are lunch tables for 32 workers, a kitchen area, bathrooms and a classroom area with a lectern, which appeared to be the icing on the cake for some of the workers.
"It's for speeches and presentations," Marroquin said to some workers who were eyeing it.
The Center will hold a grand opening at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 18. A silent auction will help pay for furnishings still needed for the building, including computers to be used for job training.