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City approves resolution supporting campus in north Snohomish County
ARLINGTON Esther Vanderberg believes that the city of Arlington should more aggressively pursue the new four-year college campus that the state of Washington has decided to build somewhere in the Northwest corner of the state.
Vanderberg attended the July 16 Arlington City Council meeting to express that, but the city had already decided its strategy.
Arlington City Council passed Resolution No. 756 that night in support of locating the four-year college campus in north Snohomish County.
Mayor Margaret Larson explained the position of the city of Arlington.
We are supporting locating the college in north Snohomish County because weve been told that our population will double in the next 20 years. We want the college to be located where the students are. Its very important.
Many Snohomish County communities have expressed a desire for the college campus, including Everett, Marysville, Lake Stevens, Snohomish and Stanwood as well.
Arlington is not campaigning to locate the college within its city limits because city officials believe the state will make the best choice based on its desire to serve its audience.
The city does have two options in mind one of which is located on state-owned land on SR 9 in the county between Arlington and Marysville, and the other is at the southwest corner of 172nd Street and 67th Avenue.
Crown Distributing is aware we are looking at that corner and they are very supportive, said Vic Ericson, Arlingtons economic development consultant, who has been attending the planning meetings for the new campus.
He explained to City Council July 16 the process that will be followed to select a site.
The University of Washington has hired an architectural and land-use firm, MBBJ, to explore the options and the firm will present its top three choices to the state legislature this fall, Ericson said.
As you know, a lot of communities have expressed interest in hosting a north county campus, Ericson said. But the final decision will be up to the state and its Superintendent of Public Schools.
Ericson believes that the firm is looking at all options not just those proposals presented by the various jurisdictions.
Since the primary
factor is access to students in north Snohomish County, as well as Island and Skagit counties, Ericson is confident that Arlington will be seriously considered.
We are definitely in the right spot.
Vanderberg likes the idea of locating the college on SR 9.
The site on SR 9 is perfect, because it will help keep traffic off the I-5 corridor, she said.
City Councilman Scott Solla described the benefits of hosting a college campus.
We all know that it would provide economic and cultural benefits, as well as education, Solla said.
The state legislature passed a bill last winter, in the furtherance of state responsibility to provide education, to pursue locating another four-year college campus to serve Snohomish, Skagit and Island counties.
They are looking at Skagit County, too, Ericson said. But we are more centrally located and dont have any colleges yet.
Ericson said the new college campus would first focus on upper level classes to prevent competition with the area community colleges. Its a STEM campus, focusing on science, technology, engineering and math,
It makes real good sense with our technology bent around the airport, he said. Weve got aerospace and alternative energy businesses already. Its a good match.
Ericson added that Arlington is providing information as requested.
The key is to make it work for the students, Ericson said. Ive been on the other side of these things. You dont want to get in the way of the process.
When asked about the potential of a college to attract even more growth, Ericson did not deny it.
The key is the type of growth you decide to attract, he said.
She believes a college would be good for the community in many ways.
Not only for educating our youth, but also for providing cultural opportunities, she said. I would like to be able to continue my own education, too, by taking evening classes without driving so far, said the mother of two grown daughters.