One of the most iconic buildings in Seattle could be the future home of new growth for Capitol Hill’s Seattle Central Community College.
“As some of you may have heard, Seattle Community Colleges has been approached by area legislators and community members to consider leasing a portion of Pacific Tower on Beacon Hill,” the college’s president Paul Killpatrick wrote in a memo posted to the Beacon Hill Blog last week about the school’s interest in the Seattle landmark.
According to the memo, the school has proposed remodeling between 86,000 and 106,000 square feet of the building to house its Allied Health programs. Renovation cost is estimated to be approximately $27 million and “legislators have indicated they will seek funding for the lease and the renovations needed,” Killpatrick writes. “Vacated space in our current buildings will be remodeled for much needed additional classrooms.”
According to the memo, several organizations including Pacific Medical Center are interested in partnering with the school and would help provide “clinical opportunities” for student training. Current Allied Health program students already work and study off campus at area hospitals and clinics.
In recent years, the building had been the headquarters for online commerce giant Amazon before the company pulled up stakes for South Lake Union. The Pacific Medical Center Clinic is an existing tenant in the 80-year-old building originally built as a U.S. Marines hospital.
The new ambitions for SCCC come as the school transitions from the recent economic downturn. CHS reported that overall enrollment at the Broadway-based community college and the two other colleges in the Seattle system has dropped but other programs like international study and distance learning have grown. The Allied Health program includes dental hygiene, nursing, respiratory, surgical technology and opticianry training.
Meanwhile, the school is also considering a multitude of new development even as it overhauls many portions of its crowded classrooms. Despite the enrollment drop, SCCC has found its facilities squeezed by the nearly 18,800 students it currently serves. Though it nixed plans to build a project with Capitol Hill Housing on property it already owns on Broadway, the school is very much in the mix for being part of the development around the Capitol Hill Station light rail facility where it could build a 105-foot student housing project if the cards play out.
The legislative process around the Pacific Medical lease and overhaul bears watching in light of the kinds of legislative push that might be required to make the school’s light rail development plans work out, too.
“While this is an exciting opportunity for Seattle Central Community College, everything is contingent upon the Legislature approving the capital funding for this project,” Killpatrick writes.