The Whatcom Community College Foundation has signed an agreement to lease its Health Professions Education Center currently under construction in the Cordata Business Park near the college’s campus.
Once the center in complete in fall 2013, the college’s nursing and allied health programs will relocate to the facility, which college leaders said would free up classroom and lab space for other academic disciplines, including Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—also known as STEM.
With a growing enrollment, Whatcom Community College is facing the possibility of a future shortage in classroom space.
“As our state’s economic challenges continue, the Legislature has encouraged colleges to seek public-private partnerships to address critical needs,” said WCC President Kathi Hiyane-Brown, in a press release. “We are committed to remaining among the top community colleges in the nation. To do so, we must offer quality instructional space and ensure we have the capacity to meet student demand. We are grateful for the Foundation’s entrepreneurial solution to this issue and to our local business partners for their support.”
The $5.5 million facility, which is financed by Whidbey Island Bank, is being developed by Dawson Construction, Blossom Management Corporation and Integrated Real Estate Management Inc. Zervas Group Architects of Bellingham will design the building.
The 96,000-square-foot project site will accommodate 134 parking spaces. Phase one includes construction of a two-story building with approximately 27,000 square feet. Phase two will build an additional 13,000-square-foot building, with a common entryway, shared elevator and stairwell connecting the two facilities.
The Foundation, which is the college’s nonprofit fundraising entity, plans to lease all of the phase-one building, and might consider leasing additional space once phase two is complete.