Legislature gives UW-Bothell funding for needed classrooms
The University of Washington, Bothell, will get bond money from the Legislature to help build a third building on campus, adding enough space for 1,000 additional students.
Seattle Times higher education reporter
The $1.1 billion capital budget passed by the state Legislature Wednesday includes money to add a long-anticipated third building to the University of Washington's Bothell campus and increase the school's capacity by 1,000 students.
Lawmakers budgeted $20 million in state bond money for the new $68 million building, which will provide classrooms, science labs and meeting space. The remainder of the cost of the building will come from student building fees and the UW's funds, plus about $5 million from private donors.
UW-Bothell Chancellor Kenyon Chan said the new building would help relieve overcrowding on campus.
"We are in buildings designed for 1,800 students, and we have 3,400 now, so we are just packed to the gills," he said.
Higher-education officials also said they were relieved that the state operating budget — which also passed this week in a budget compromise that brought the Legislative session to a close — essentially included no new cuts to higher education. Legislators have trimmed public college and university funding by about 50 percent in the past four years, which has resulted in skyrocketing tuition rates.
UW-Bothell received money to design the 74,000-square-foot building three years ago and tried unsuccessfully to obtain construction funding last year, said Kelly Snyder, assistant vice chancellor of government and community relations.
UW-Bothell is ready to begin construction this summer. It will take 18 to 24 months to complete the building, which will include 11 science labs, a 200-seat lecture hall and classroom seating for 450.
The UW branch has also entered into a long-term lease for a building adjacent to campus that will accommodate 500 more students. With that lease, and the new building, the school will be able to grow to an enrollment of about 5,000, Chan said.
Chan said UW-Bothell has seen a steady increase in the number of students applying to go there, and this year had 2,600 applications for 625 spots in its freshman class. Applications were up 25 percent for the fall quarter, and Snyder said it is the fastest-growing four-year institution in the state.
The freshman class is especially diverse: 55 percent are students of color, and 57 percent will be the first ones in their families to attend college, Chan said.
UW-Bothell also has added housing to its campus in recent years. Last year, the school purchased an adjacent apartment building that houses 224 students, and this fall it will lease a building that will house an additional 80 students.
Katherine Long: 206-464-2219 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @katherinelong.