New digs coming for Trinity College students in Everett

Makaela Hayward’s apartment looks like what it is — a college student’s digs.

Posters, pictures and hand-drawn artwork cover the walls. Her twin bed is “lofted,” as dorm dwellers say, to add storage space underneath.

Hayward, 20, is a sophomore at Trinity Lutheran College. She’s a resident adviser in the downtown Everett school’s student housing. About 80 Trinity students live in a brick apartment building on Hoyt Avenue, near the Everett Public Library.

From outside, it looks nothing like the high-rise dorms many campuses have. There’s a small Trinity Lutheran College sign outside the 1920s building, which the college leases. Aside from that, only the comings and goings of young people with backpacks give away the building’s purpose.

By fall of 2015, if plans stay on track, Trinity Lutheran College will have a higher profile downtown. Construction of a six-story residence hall on the southwest corner of California Street and Oakes Avenue will be a big change — and a welcome addition — for Trinity students and central Everett.

On April 23, the Everett City Council voted 4-1 to approve the student housing project. That decision cleared the way for Trinity to build the 100-unit building. Footprint LLC, which has built a number of “micro-housing” projects in Seattle, is expected to start work in Everett this summer.

The furnished apartments will be tiny, about 200 square feet. Each will have a bedroom, bathroom, desk, shelves, microwave and refrigerator. There will be common kitchen, laundry and social areas.

Parking was an issue raised by the City Council. Trinity will be allowed to use a garage it owns a block west of the residence hall. Hayward said only about half of current students have cars in Everett.

“My senior year, I’ll be in the new building. I’m excited,” said Hayward, who grew up in Redmond and is majoring in psychology and children, youth and family studies.

The residence hall will bring campus ambience to the small college, which is in the former Bon Marche building on Wetmore Avenue. It’s also likely to boost the area’s economy, as businesses respond to needs and wants of a growing student population. And for the rest of us, a larger college presence is sure to make a more interesting community.

Trinity Lutheran College President John Reed, quoted in the Herald Monday, said school administrators hope enrollment will grow from about 200 students to 500 within five years.

What do today’s students think about downtown Everett?

Darwin Paet, a 21-year-old Trinity junior from White Center, would like to see coffee shops and other places that aren’t bars stay open later. He would also love to see a bargain movie theater downtown.

For fun outside of school, Hayward said, “we really don’t stay here.” Bowling at Everett’s Evergreen Lanes and outings to Buffalo Wild Wings in Lynnwood are popular, said Hayward, who plays on Trinity’s golf team.

If the prospect of a big residence hall raises concerns about wild college students downtown, remember that they are already here — living quietly on Hoyt. The apartment building has such a safe atmosphere that Jessica Corral, Trinity’s director of residence life, lives there with her three children, ages 4, 5 and 9.

“I trust these people with my children,” said Corral, a 31-year-old Trinity graduate. “It’s a dry campus, and students here are really respectful.”

The ground floor is all men. There are two co-ed floors, and the top floor is all women. The Hoyt building has studio apartments, and one- and two-bedroom units. Housing is $2,850 per semester. Students buy meal plans for breakfast and lunch, served at the college. They are on their own for dinners, but meal plans have an option that includes several area restaurants.

There’s a grassy area next to the old apartment house, and a large space students call the bungalow. It has a big TV, a kitchen, couches and games. After 10 p.m. there are quiet hours, when Paet has to turn down his ’90s R&B.

As a resident adviser, Hayward helps plan activities. “Taco Tuesdays have been really successful. And I’ve tried to get Bible studies going,” she said.

During his freshman year, Paet woke up one sunny Saturday and said “Let’s barbecue.” With a college chef’s ingenuity, he used a plastic storage container to marinate ribs — which he cooked on two George Foreman Grills. Neighbors from another apartment building were invited to share. “Everyone was welcome,” Paet said.

“We are very much like a family here,” Corral said.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@heraldnet.com.

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