WSU budget request includes $5 million for Everett

OLYMPIA — Washington State University wants to enroll more students in its engineering courses in Everett if the governor and state lawmakers will provide the money.

And WSU also hopes to receive funding in the next state budget to lease a building, possibly in the city, where students and faculty can one day conduct research in advanced manufacturing.

Those are components of a $5 million initiative embedded in the university’s budget request that went to Gov. Jay Inslee last month. He’ll now consider whether to include it in his proposed 2017-19 spending plan due out in December. WSU will also need to win support from the House and Senate next year.

City leaders said growth in the engineering degree programs will be instrumental in helping meet the demand for engineers from the community’s growing number of aerospace firms.

“To have (WSU) continue to build momentum in those programs is critical,” said Bob Bolerjack, executive director, governmental affairs for the city of Everett.

As proposed, the $5 million would pay to:

add a combined 90 enrollment slots in the mechanical, electrical and software engineering programs at WSU North Puget Sound anchored on the Everett Community College campus;

increase software engineering slots at WSU Vancouver by 26 students per year;

add five new maritime industry electives at WSU Bremerton and offer them to students in Everett and other university campuses;

offer a new professional certificate in supply chain management and logistics to students in Vancouver and Everett;

and secure a building, in partnership with the Port of Everett and City of Everett for the Center for Engineering and Science in Advanced Manufacturing &Materials.

If funding is provided, WSU would be looking to expand enrollment in its engineering degree offerings in Everett for the first time since it settled in the city in 2012.

That year, it began offering a mechanical engineering degree through the University Center, a WSU-managed collaboration of public and private colleges on the EvCC campus. The university added programs in electrical engineering in 2014 and software engineering in 2015.

Creation of the supply chain management certificate would be the first non-degree program offered in Everett, said Chris Mulick, WSU’s director of state relations.

And the center is envisioned as a future incubator of innovation by bringing students, faculty and those in the private sector together on projects.

“The approach at CESAMM will develop technical expertise and theoretical understanding through hands-on, experiential, project- and studio-based learning and, when possible, with a customer-based focus,” university officials wrote in the budget request.

They also penciled in $2.1 million for operating and maintaining the future home of WSU North Puget Sound and the University Center now under construction.

The four-story, 95,000-square-foot structure is getting built in the north corner of the College Plaza parking lot on North Broadway and Tower Street. It is across the street from the main Everett Community College campus.

Work is expected to finish in time for the start of the 2017 school year.

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

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