EvCC library decision pending: East or west of Broadway?

The long-discussed placement of the new Learning Resource Center is to be determined in October.

EVERETT — Everett Community College’s Board of Trustees is expected to make a decision in October about where to site a new Learning Resource Center that could serve the campus for another 50 years.

It is a conversation that has generated divided opinions from those who want to see it remain west of Broadway and those who believe it should be to the east. There are two possible locations: Index Hall on the main campus or the college plaza to the east.

The Learning Resource Center would include the library, study spaces, tutoring center and other services.

Tension over the issue heightened in May during a public hearing. Interest has not waned over the summer if a special meeting of the board of trustees last week is any indicator. Summer quarter can be a quiet time at EvCC, but nearly two dozen people attended the session with several urging the board to keep the library on the main campus.

Disagreement about where the building should go was delayed from spring to Oct. 16. The board wanted to hear from more students, staff and faculty.

During a 90-minute session Thursday, board members heard the pros and cons of both locations.

Later this month, board members plan to tour Skagit Valley, Whatcom and Clark community colleges, looking at their library locations. The tours may impact the decision at EvCC, said Mike Deller, chairman of the board of trustees.

Some college administrators argue the building would be best located on the east side of Broadway. Pat Sisneros, vice president of college services, said it will be 20 to 25 years before there is more funding and the college should plan for its inevitable expansion.

Others believe the Index Hall site is best because it is central to the rest of the campus and can be easily and quickly accessed by students.

A survey of library usage last spring found the majority of students who use the EvCC library do so for short periods of time in between classes. Advocates for keeping it on the main campus say the 10-minute walk to the college plaza site would make it difficult for students, many of whom have 50 minutes between classes, to use the library effectively and often.

Mobility also is a concern. The ASB Senate “feels strongly about having it at Index rather than (across) Broadway,” student President Emmerson Hunter said. “It wouldn’t be an equitable campus if we were making the library basically unavailable for disabled students.”

The majority of students in an ASB survey said they prefer the Index site, and another survey of faculty showed 127 out of 150 faculty members preferred Index compared to Broadway, as well.

Nataya Foss: nfoss@heraldnet.com.

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