UW Bothell plan: New student housing, academic buildings

Without a timeline, a 20-year master plan has been approved by Cascadia College and the city.

BOTHELL — There is still room to grow.

And that’s what University of Washington Bothell is poised to do.

So is Cascadia College, which shares the same campus.

Those hopes are spelled out in a 186-page, 20-year master plan that was recently approved by both institutions as well as the city of Bothell. It’s a blueprint for growth, though there is no guarantee on a timeline for all of the work.

The plan envisions the campus could grow by 1 million square feet in new stand-alone academic buildings and student housing as well as with expansions to the library and student activities and recreation center.

On the near horizon is more classroom space for science, technology, engineering and math courses. The Legislature’s recently approved capital budget earmarks $3 million for design of a new building.

All told, there could be 11 new buildings for academics or housing. There are now 274 beds with demand today for about 600. The hope is for between 900 and 1,200 beds total.

Parking also would be increased by 1,700 new spaces. Most of the new parking would be at the south and west ends of campus.

Over the past decade, UW Bothell has experienced rapid growth. The campus was originally built for Cascadia to accept freshmen and sophomores and UW Bothell for upper division and graduate students. In 2005, the Legislature directed UW Bothell to develop a comprehensive four-year curriculum, and in 2006 UWB accepted its first freshman class.

Kelly Snyder has watched UW Bothell enrollment grow from 1,700 to 5,600 in the 9 1/2 years she has worked for the university.

The assistant vice chancellor of government and community relations said she likes to call the campus “the little engine that could.” Much of the growth is the result of the university working with students and employers to provide courses to meet the interests and demands of both, she said.

The state plan is for the Bothell campus to eventually serve 10,000 students in total — 6,000 at UW Bothell and 4,000 at Cascadia.

“We did this together, and it is really a great partnership we had with them,” Snyder said, referring to the master plan. “There is lots of space for lots of buildings, and I think the plan describes how we can best do that together.”

More students can be accommodated in other locations. For instance, UW Bothell these days offers a bachelors degree in nursing in Everett.

Snyder talks about extra “access points” off campus that provide additional opportunities for people with busy lives, whether through work or family commitments, to pursue their educations closer to home.

The master plan said data suggests current buildings are undersized for the existing enrollment, that anecdotally it seems that programs are “bursting at the seams” and more space is needed to better serve students.

Long-term plans call for redeveloping the current Husky Village campus housing into “Beardslee Commons,” a new front door to the campus that could include transit-oriented retail, housing and academic functions along Beardslee Boulevard.

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

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