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Seafarers' House breaks ground for new Port Everglades welcome center

The $4.5m facility is scheduled to open later this year
After outgrowing 26-year-old 'temporary' buildings, Seafarers' House at Port Everglades broke ground Thursday for a new welcome center.

Executive Director Jennifer Stewart declared it 'a historic moment' for the multi-faith organization that offers mariners practical care and spiritual support.

$4.5m center with added facilities

Scheduled to be completed later this year, the $4.5m facility will provide all the services that have been offered previously in a 'new, bigger, comfortable home away from home,' Stewart said. Plus, it will house an education center, a cafe serving hot meals, increased recreation areas, a chapel and a meditation garden.

The facility, she added, will be a place to 'safely relax and recharge on land.'

Port Everglades CEO and Port Director Jonathan Daniels thanked Seafarers' House for its commitment to mariners in times good and bad, no matter where they come from.

Lesley Warrick, who retired at the end of 2020 after 15 years leading Seafarers' House, recounted how the planning and fundraising for the new center began in 2016.

150,000 seafarer visits annually

Under Warrick's stewardship, Seafarers’ House expanded its reach to serve nearly 150,000 seafarer visits annually and was recognized internationally as a leading seafarer welfare and care center.

Principal donors

Principal donors who 'laid the keel' for the new center with a collective $2m include transportation and logistics provider SEACOR, Royal Caribbean Group, Carnival Corp. and the International Transport Workers' Federation. Numerous others are providing support, donations and pro bono work.

The new center is detailed here