New WWU waterfront plans still preliminary

By Tristan Hiegler

Western Washington University has scaled back its plans for a Huxley College of the Environment campus on Bellingham’s waterfront, at least for the near future. The university’s focus is now on the creation of a community learning center, which would be a collaboration between Western, Bellingham Technical College, Northwest Indian College and Whatcom Community College.

Steve Swan, vice president for university relations at Western, said the center would have a variety of programs and classes at a centralized, high-tech location. However, the community will have to wait for more details.

The board of the Western Crossing Development met on Tuesday, May 4 to discuss plan updates for the center. The university was represented by President Bruce Shepard and Trustee Peggy Zoro, while the Port of Bellingham was represented by Port Commissioner Scott Walker and Interim Port Executive Director Fred Seeger.

Swan said the plan for the community learning center is still in draft form and being internally reviewed by Western staff and faculty before any further action is taken. He said there have been positive reactions to the concept and he is expecting strong acceptance of the idea.

Shepard said the center would not be just another conference hall, but serve as another access point for the community to get at Western Washington University.

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