WSU lands $10 million toward Everett growth

OLYMPIA — Washington State University has snagged $10 million in state aid to help cement its presence in Everett.

Those dollars will be used to design and construct a building near Everett Community College where WSU and other universities expect to be conducting classes by next decade.

The money is included in the two-year, $3.6 billion state construction budget signed Monday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

WSU and its partners at the University Center of the North Puget Sound predict the number of full-time students they serve will rise from 465 this school year to 1,179 by the spring of 2021.

WSU is a newcomer to the University Center but will be playing a very big role very soon.

It began offering a mechanical engineering degree in 2012 and is looking to launch three additional degree programs in 2014. Moreover, WSU is on track to inherit command of the University Center from EvCC next year.

As part of the transition, WSU delivered a report to lawmakers in December on the center’s expected long-term growth. That analysis concluded the center will “outgrow currently available facilities on the EvCC campus and will need significantly more physical capacity.”

There is no specific project tied to the money. In March, officials of the city of Everett, WSU and EvCC talked about constructing a 95,000-square-foot building on the parking lot of the former College Plaza shopping center which is owned by the community college.

They also said the next steps hinged on securing state funds. Several area lawmakers in the House and Senate lobbied for the money on behalf of the community college and Pullman-based university.

The capital budget provided funds for other Snohomish County projects as well including $2.6 million to Senior Services of Snohomish County to provide housing for homeless veterans; $1 million to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department toward a substation in south county; $750,000 for drainage improvements on Prairie Creek in Arlington and $1 million toward preservation of Japanese Gulch in Mukilteo.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com

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