Shoreline Community College is one big step closer to offering on-campus student housing.
On Sunday, Dec. 9, Shoreline President Lee Lambert signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for a 400-bed facility that would be built on the site of the current soccer field and track at the north end of the campus.
“This is a very exciting day,” Lambert said. “Shoreline has wonderful programs that draw students from down the block and around the world. This project will be open to all students, making it easier to get the education and training they want and need.”
The MOA outlines a partnership between the college and private investors led by local resident David Lee. Under the agreement, Lee and the investors will build and operate the facility on land they lease from the state of Washington, which owns the college campus. The MOA gives the college review and approval rights in significant areas of the design, construction and operation of the facility.
“This is a wonderfully creative and cooperative opportunity,” Lee said. “I’ve always admired the beauty of the Shoreline campus. We want this project to be part of that beauty.”
While no specific plans are yet drawn and no price tag, the agreement calls for the facility to be built to LEED Silver standards at a minimum. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an environmental design rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. While LEED Silver is required for new state-owned buildings, that was never a problem for Lee and the investors, according to their representative, Windermere Real Estate Broker Marguerite Knutson.
“David Lee has seen the campus many times,” Knutson said. “The design, the trees and the natural beauty of the campus are all things they want this project to respect and embrace.”
In addition to building the facility, the developers take on the lion’s share of operations. They will operate the building, including staffing and maintenance, all tied to agreed-upon standards. The college will have some increased expenses, including staffing for increased safety and security and student programming services.
The developer is responsible for collection of rent payments from students, with a portion going to the college. The college would also receive an annual payment for lease of the land and there is a one-time, non-refundable deposit due when the lease is signed.
Led by David Lee, the other investors are from China. Both Lee and Lambert traveled there for the signing, which occurred Dec. 9. The son of one of the investors has attended Shoreline, according to Lambert.
“This agreement involves international partners, but it is also about local residents and families of our students wanting to help build this college for others,” Lambert said. “This agreement not only opens the way to break ground on campus, it breaks new ground as a model for public/private partnerships for higher education in Washington.”
Signing the MOA is a significant milestone, but the work is not done, Lambert said.
The college had already been working with the City of Shoreline on a Master Development Plan (MDP). That process was on hiatus while the housing agreement was worked out.
“We’re excited that the college is pursuing this project that will have a significant positive impact on the overall Shoreline community,” said Dan Eernissee, Economic Development Manager for the city. “We look forward to working with the college to meet the needs of students, the college and the city.”
The MDP work will now resume with housing included, clearing the way for the city’s normal project-specific approval processes.
“We know that parking and traffic will be top concerns of the city and our neighbors,” Lambert said. “We think the project may actually improve our on-campus parking situation and, with up to 400 students staying on campus rather than jumping in their cars at the end of class, it may help there, too.”
Also, the ground lease must be worked out and signed with state officials. That process will involve the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, which oversees Shoreline and the other 33 campuses in the state.
“Both the city and state are aware of this project, but now we’ve got to do the work,” Lambert said, adding that if all goes as anticipated, students could be moving in by August, 2015.
“This project is a significant step toward getting all our students ready to be successful in an increasingly globalized world,” Lambert said. “The faculty and staff are working hard to create dynamic learning environments inside and outside of the classroom. Those efforts will be greatly enhanced by having domestic and international students living and studying together.
“This is critical to the success of Washingtonians as more and more of the state’s jobs are tied to international trade.”