Everett’s mayor says city needs a campus

BOTHELL – Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson on Thursday urged the University of Washington Board of Regents to help bring a branch campus to Everett.

“As the demands on higher education grow and diversify statewide, I believe an expansion of the UW to Everett and surrounding counties will be strategically prudent,” Stephanson told the board regents who were meeting at the UW-Bothell campus.

Everett now has a population of more than 100,000 and Snohomish County of 670,000, with forecasts of nearly 1 million.

A UW branch campus would create new, affordable and convenient education options for north Puget Sound students, he said.

Stephanson and state Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, spent a half-hour making a pitch to the regents and university staff.

Both say they favor bringing in a branch campus affiliated with the UW over an independent four-year university that has been advocated by other local leaders, including many state senators.

“You’ve got the juice and we want to bring it to Snohomish County,” said Dunshee, who wore the UW letterman’s jacket he earned as a wrestler in the 1970s.

“It’s logical for the University of Washington, and it’s logical for the state,” he said.

The biggest concern among UW regents is whether a branch campus in Everett would undercut funding at the UW’s Seattle campus and branch campuses in Bothell and Tacoma.

“Bright shiny objects are exciting, but we have to make sure we are taking care of the core,” including competitive faculty salaries, said Sally Jewell, a member of the UW regents.

Stephanson pledged community support, including land for a campus and fundraising.

“The city of Everett is primed and ready to begin work on a UW branch campus,” he said.

Reporter Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446 or stevick@heraldnet.com.

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