LYNNWOOD — After years of planning, construction of new classrooms at Edmonds Community College is just out of reach, but may be getting closer.
The school’s Science Engineering and Technology Building, or SET Building, is in the permitting process with Lynnwood. Construction is expected to begin in late summer or early fall.
The 70,000-square-foot building is expected to cost about $44 million.
The building should be complete in late 2019 and open in January 2020, Kevin McKay said. He’s EdCC’s vice president of finance and operations.
“I think that’s optimistic, I would be surprised if it’s open and operational before spring of 2020 at this point, because of the delays,” McKay said.
Originally, the building was expected to open in 2011, McKay said. Delays to the project were due to the state’s economic recession and the Legislature’s inability to pass a capital budget last year. The EdCC building and many other projects statewide received funding in January when state lawmakers finally agreed on a capital budget.
Budget setbacks also have impacted the permitting process, Lynnwood’s Economic Development Director David Kleitsch said.
The school requested the permits more than a year ago, Kleitsch said. The building also is somewhat complicated, he said.
“They have to coordinate utilities and connections to the campus, and make special requests for labs,” Kleitsch said. “They’re trying to do everything right and correct and we’re trying to get that permit process through as quickly as we can.”
Hold-ups at the state level also have added to the cost of the building, McKay said. Construction was ready to begin in 2015, he said. Since then, inflation has increased the cost by $1.5 million, which is not included in the budget.
If the state does not include the extra cost in funding, EdCC will have to use its own money, redesign the building, or a combination of both, McKay said.
“Redesigning a building is expensive because you have to bring in the architects and re-engineer everything, and go back to permitting,” McKay said.
The SET building is expected to be placed between Seaview Gym and Mountlake Terrace Hall, over the school’s central utility plant. Since the building may eliminate parking spots, about 50 were added to the school’s east parking lot in November 2017.
Planning for the SET building began before STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, was a well-known term. Nevertheless, this is a STEM building, McKay said.
It is expected to include chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, nursing and computer classrooms. These programs already are available at EdCC, but since class space is limited the number of courses are limited, McKay said.
“The demand for STEM-related academic programs is huge, and growing rapidly,” McKay said. “This building for Snohomish County represents a huge gain, just in terms of classroom space for this kind of training that Snohomish County very much needs for the workforce we’ve got growing here.”
Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org.