Wednesday, October 31, 2007

WWU and the Waterfront - Who Will House the Students?

The following article recently appeared in the Bellingham Herald (click here):

Western Washington University’s campus committee, which is looking at waterfront options for the school, will host another public forum at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Communications Facility, Room 115.

Doug Graham of STRATUS, a consultant for Western’s Waterfront Development Committee, will provide an overall update on planning and other work since the last forum, including progress in developing the academic, enrollment, space plans and potential development models. Also included will be an update of the overall timeline for waterfront development and a discussion of specific accomplishments to date.

At its Oct. 12 meeting, WWU’s board of trustees heard a presentation from STRATUS and Portland developer Homer Williams about some varied and creative ways a waterfront can be developed.

Williams led the effort to develop the Pearl District in Portland, Ore., and also is a leader in development of Portland’s South Waterfront District, which includes space for the Oregon Health & Science University.”

You can read the information provided by STRATUS at the WWU website (click here for the report). Such development calls for increased enrollment of Huxley College. Although some comments within the report suggest planning for retail and commercial facilities, “housing” is also mentioned, however, it is unclear for whom the housing would be built. If it is a case of condominiums with exorbitant price tags that are clearly not meant for students, then this presents a problem. Where does WWU intend to house these additional students (500 in one scenario)? Can the waterfront campus even accommodate housing for 500 additional students? The Zonemaven intends to keep his eye on planning for WWU facilities at the waterfront. For those of you who can attend the presentation on 1 November, the question of student housing should be a topic of conversation with STRATUS and WWU.

1 comment:

Doug Karlberg said...

I submitted a "public documents request" on Western and have received a bundle of largely undisclosed documents from Western and the Port. What is being planned for housing on the waterfront is as much as 100 units that are housing for Professor, visiting Professors, retired Professors, and alumni of Western. The college gives this proposal some fancy name that obscures the true intent, so the real plan is hard to discern.

Western helps create this housing shortage by attracting students without provisions for housing them, placing the burden onto the local citizenry. Then complaining of a housing shortage for professor, creates with tax money a large scale view condominium project for their chosen people.

This is Westerns plans, which I am sure that are subject to change. What I object to is that Western is only concerned about their own problems, not the ones that the college places on the community. Now they want view condominiums, but they will not come out and simply tell us this. Why are they hiding, if they are so proud of their self-centered housing plans?

Its the view they are after. You think the President of Western will want one of the new condos?