UW plans 40 construction projects through 2001

The University of Washington may build up to 40 new facilities by the next century, involving an increase of about 2.2 million gross square feet to campus, according to a draft campus master plan released last February and currently under review by UW and city groups.

The plan proposes possible new facilities for Physics, Chemistry, Life Sciences, Electrical Engineering/Computer Sciences and Fisheries. The plan also identifies the need for facilities for Music/ Liberal Arts Teaching, a Business Administration Executive Center, cultural facilities such as a new theater and an art gallery wing, and additional housing and recreational facilities.

Sites for the proposed new facilities have been identified, primarily in the southern portion of the Central Campus and in the West Campus. The development will include abandoning some existing streets, creating new open space, constructing a new traffic system, and establishing a new vista to the waterfront to improve public access to Portage Bay.

Provost Laurel Wilkening says that the 2.2 million square feet of new space has “an estimated price tag of nearly $1 billion.” The provost adds, “About 980,000 square feet of this space, or 45 percent of it, has already received authorization from the state, either in planning or construction money.

“The new facilities we have planned will mean better educational opportunities for students—undergraduate and graduate—and better space for faculty to conduct research,” Wilkening says. Most construction will take place on sites of existing parking lots, with new parking lots placed underground. Due to careful planning, the total landscaped space on campus will increase slightly by 2001.

The UW is committed to minimizing traffic and parking congestion on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods by limiting its parking inventory and offering transportation alternatives. Since 1983, University-bound traffic has remained within strict limits, while non-University-bound traffic to and through the University District has increased substantially.

“We are committed to managing this campus renewal with care and sensitivity,” says Executive Vice President Tallman Trask III. “An important part of the planning process is the involvement of the community, especially the University’s immediate neighbors, as well as the campus community.”

“Readers of this plan need to understand that though 40 projects are proposed, not all of them may be built by the year 2001,” adds Wilkening. The plan establishes the ground rules for development, but does not forecast the precise extent or timing, she says.

A final plan and final environmental impact statement will be issued this month. The documents will be reviewed by the city and community, including hearings by a Seattle City Hearing Examiner and the Seattle City Council and final action by the Board of Regents in the spring of 1991.