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In the News

WSU North Puget Sound at Everett – reaching out to neighbors, waiting on legislative decisions

legislative agenda

As WSU Impact has been reporting, the legislature is still in session, working towards a final two-year budget to fund state operations, including Washington State University. One of the most critical issues to WSU and expansion of education opportunities in the North Puget Sound region is the proposed funding for construction of classrooms, laboratories, and student services in north Everett. If approved by the legislature, the new building will add value to the education “hub” that includes Everett Community College, the Everett University Center, and WSU North Puget Sound at Everett. The article below describes the recently held community meeting seeking input, encouraging questions, and leading collaborative dialogue with the neighborhood.

MyEverettNews.com 

Over the next decade the look of North Broadway between the 529 bridge over the Snohomish River and 13th street east of Providence Regional Medical Center is likely to change dramatically. The major driver of this is the expansion of the campus of Everett Community College and the addition of Washington State University North Puget Sound at Everett.

On Thursday, representatives from both schools spoke at the monthly meeting of the Northwest neighborhood. Bob Drewel, Interim Chancellor and Paul Pitre, Dean of WSU North Puget Sound at Everett and Pat Sisneros, Vice President of Everett Community College addressed a crowd of neighbors to start what they said was a long term process of communication. They unveiled the first major WSU building likely to go up in the neighborhood. It will be located across from Everett Community College on the east side of Broadway between Tower and 10th street in what now is the College Plaza shopping center.

The property is owned by the college but the building will belong to WSU. With $10 million dollars in pre-construction money the initial designs have been done and now the wait is on for the Washington State Legislature to approve final funding at a level around $61 million dollars.

Drewel told the audience that the Governor’s budget proposal, the House proposal and the Senate proposal all have money at different levels for the building and they are waiting for the legislative session to end to see where things stand. “I won’t allow a shovel full of dirt to start until I have the check in hand,” said Drewel. Tentative plans call for a July start and occupancy in 2017 but again that’s a moving target until the funding is finalized. After the building is up and running there will be between 700-800 people using the building.

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Students matriculating at Everett University Center and WSU North Puget Sound at Everett are primarily transfer students from local community colleges who are seeking baccalaureate degrees in high demand fields that support the thriving North Puget Sound economy.

The building will be state of the art and environmentally friendly with solar panels, natural ventilation and a hydronic heated and cooled flooring system. Degree programs will be offered by Washington State University, Central Washington University, Western Washington University and the University of Washington. The current WSU plan is a two plus two concept where students begin their first two years at Everett Community College, Edmonds Community College and Skagit Valley Community College and then finish the second two-years of their degree at the WSU managed facility. The students are expected to be a bit older than typical college students, be working or with families, with classes offered more in the afternoons and evenings.

Parking, both while the new building is under construction and once its open, is a big concern for both the Northwest and Delta neighborhoods as well as the schools. Drewel said some property acquisition is underway and they are looking for some relief at an area that used to house Index Hall.

Mel Taylor, a real estate manager for WSU confirmed to MyEverettNews.com that the trailer park on Broadway north of Tower street (behind and north of the Subway/7-11 store) has been purchased and they are looking at other properties. Getting students quickly across Broadway from one side to the other is also something that will need to be addressed. Continued expansion of Everett Community College and additional buildings for WSU in the next ten years are all being considered.

One thing needed will be a master plan for the area that does not exist right now. That’s where Drewel again emphasized communication between the neighbors, the schools and the city and floated the idea of a Community Advisory Board. One more note on parking was a request from Pat Sisneros to have the neighbors and city agree on a single time limit for on street parking in the area around the college so that parking education and enforcement can be simplified and consistent.

Drewel wrapped up the meeting encouraging people to ask questions and look ten years forward to a very different looking north Broadway with a greater sense of unified purpose.

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