$37.8M in governor’s budget for Edmonds college building

OLYMPIA — Leaders of Edmonds Community College are smiling this week as Gov. Jay Inslee embraced funding for the construction of a new building on campus.

Inslee penciled $37.8 million into his proposed capital budget for the Science, Engineering and Technology Building, a long-pursued project that is the top construction priority of the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

“I’m very excited. It shows Gov. Inslee’s commitment to STEM education,” EdCC president Jean Hernandez said after seeing the money in the spending plan released Wednesday.

But she said she knows this is only the beginning of the legislating process. The state House and Senate will each produce budgets in the upcoming session. Then lawmakers and the governor must reconcile any differences.

It could be months before there’s certainty about the outcome.

“I don’t want to assume anything,” Hernandez said. “We have a very high probability of getting it through the process. I am very hopeful that we’ll have a ground breaking next year.”

The proposed 70,000-square-foot building would be three-stories tall. It is designed to have 11 classrooms and nine laboratories for physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering and nursing courses plus office space. Classrooms, labs and offices are to be located in separate wings, according to material prepared by the college.

If funded, this would be the first new building constructed on campus in nearly a decade and would serve a growing number of students enrolling in science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses, officials have said.

Overall, Inslee’s two-year capital budget spends $108.5 million in Snohomish County on various construction projects and community programs.

The list includes:

$3.7 million for the ongoing work related to closing the sewer lagoon at the Monroe Correctional Complex;

$2 million to begin a multi-year $15 million renovation of the Wallace River Hatchery;

$2 million for development of the Pathways to Medical Professions program in Everett Public Schools

$2.8 million to Housing Hope for support of the second phase of its HopeWorks Station in Everett;

$1,073,000 to Cocoon House for its Colby Avenue Youth Center project in Everett;

$250,000 for renovations of Mill Creek Sports Park;

$250,000 for renovations at Phil Johnson ballfields in Everett;

Inslee is proposing the state provide $2.25 million for developing a new waterfront community center in Edmonds.

The project’s estimated price tag is $11 million. Supporters say they’ve lined up $4.7 million in pledges including a $2 million pledge from travel business entrepreneur Rick Steves, an Edmonds resident.

The 26,000-square-foot center is planned on the site of the current Edmonds Senior Center on Railroad Avenue. The goal is to start construction on the building in the first quarter of 2018 and for it to open about a year later.

The Boys and Girls Club of Snohomish County could receive financial aid for two of its undertakings.

Inslee’s budget includes $99,500 for adding a gym in the Arlington Boys & Girls Club facilities and two baseball diamonds on nearby Quake Fields. Fundraising for the Stilly 2000 project began earlier this year.

There’s also $120,000 for the Lake Stevens Boys and Girls Club to expand its teen center. So far the group has raised about $660,000, including $485,000 from a raffle in which the prize was joining actor and Lake Stevens High graduate Chris Pratt on the movie set of “Guardians of the Galaxy 2”.

Details on the governor’s budget proposals can be found online at ofm.wa.gov.

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

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