A growing Seattle Central talks near-term changes to improve its streetscape, plans for new Broadway tech building, and student housing to replace its E Pine parking garage

The proposed Information Technology Education Center could eventually be part of the growing campus along Broadway

Coming decades will bring big changes to Seattle Central College with plans for several new developments currently being proposed.

The school plans to build a six-story Information Technology Education Center on Broadway with nearly 200 underground parking spots next to the Capitol Hill light rail station on Sound Transit property. The space, divided between classrooms, laboratories, and other student uses as well as office space, would be funded by the college from sources outside the state, architect Stephen Starling said in a meeting last week with the Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council.

On the site of the massive, 510-stall E Pine and Harvard parking garage, there would be over 500 beds of student housing. That existing garage would be demolished and rebuilt with about 260 parking spots, which would include charging stations for electric bikes and cars, and the housing built above. Continue reading

Capitol Hill-bound Intiman Theater adds new director

Intiman Theater, set to make a new home on Capitol Hill in an innovative partnership at Seattle Central hoped to create opportunities for BIPOC stage and performance workers, has announced a new leader to help guide its move into the new neighborhood.

Amy Zimerman has joined Intiman as its new managing director and will lead the organization alongside artistic director Jennifer Zeyl.

The nonprofit veteran will guide Intiman as it develops a new associate degree program emphasis in Technical Theatre for Social Justice at Seattle Central with training and roles for diverse designers, lighting techs, and theater crews.

The new partnership and program slated to start in fall of 2021 will put Intiman to work on Seattle Central’s stages inside Harvard Ave’s Erickson Theater and inside the Broadway Performance Hall and puts an end of the recent wanderings of Intiman productions and, hopefully, years of financial uncertainty.

The theater group hopes to raise $1.5 million as part of its move to Capitol Hill. You can learn more and donate here.

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Seattle Central will make new home for Intiman Theater on Capitol Hill — and new opportunities for diverse crews to work behind the scenes

(Image: Broadway Performance Hall)

Someday, actors will again put Seattle Central’s Capitol Hill theater spaces back to work. When the lights come up, the spotlight will fall on a new partnership for the Broadway school that will shine light on social justice — and equity in the vital theater roles behind the scenes.

Last week, the college announced it is making a new home for longtime Seattle arts group the Intiman Theater that will create a new associate degree program emphasis in Technical Theatre for Social Justice at the school — and help to provide training and roles for diverse designers, lighting techs, and theater crews.

“We look forward to working with Intiman to provide students with a pathway into the world of technical theater. This partnership is a vivid model of how to better serve our students and how to close the opportunity gaps in our community,” college president Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange said in a statement. Continue reading

Back to school, remotely, on Capitol Hill — Seattle Central College ready to start new year amid COVID-19 challenges

By Ben Adlin

Seattle Central College will remain on lockdown as the fall quarter kicks off on Tuesday, with limited access to the school’s Capitol Hill campus and nearly all coursework conducted remotely. Stations will be set up outside building entrances to screen visitors for COVID symptoms, and an updated ventilation system is designed to swap out indoor air every three minutes.

With no end in sight to the pandemic, college administrators expect the precautions to stretch at least into early next year. The school’s operations are limited by the Gov. Jay Inslee’s phased reopening plan.

“Until we get there in terms of public health, the number of cases, testing, everything, we’re not going to be able to bring back more people onto campus,” said SCC President Sheila Edwards Lange. “Initially we thought that we’d be in Phase 3 right now, to be honest, but we’re still in Phase 2.”

The concerns about the virus go beyond health. Last week a small group of demonstrators gathered in a parking garage on campus to demand that Seattle Colleges, which includes Seattle Central, establish a worker-led decision-making process, make cuts to the administrative budget to pay for programs and staff, provide free tuition for students and enact progressive taxes to fully fund colleges as the pandemic seems likely to bring budget cuts to the system.

Already the back-to-school season has brought fears—and growing evidence—of new coronavirus outbreaks. One recent study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, estimated that an extra 3,200 cases a day may have been caused in recent weeks by face-to-face instruction at U.S. colleges and universities.

To combat that spread, only a handful of Seattle Central’s course offerings this quarter will include in-person instruction. Most of those programs, such as nursing, carpentry and culinary arts, require in-class evaluation for accreditation or practical reasons.

And students in those programs, administrators said, will still see a number of pandemic-related changes, including an increased emphasis on remote learning. Nursing students, for example, will rely more on computer simulations instead of hands-on practice.

Most other programs, meanwhile, will be entirely remote, relying on video presentations, the online learning management tool Canvas and even, on occasion, good old-fashioned snail mail. Continue reading

City clears tents and Seattle Central fences-off plaza lawn where post-CHOP camp formed — UPDATE

The south lawn of Seattle Central is fenced off and cleared of tents after the city moved in Tuesday morning to clear the camp that formed in the wake of the July 1st raid and sweep of the CHOP occupied protest.

The college announced the clearance in an email to the campus. “After two weeks of working with homeless support services, speaking with organizers, and hearing from employees and neighbors, the college received assistance from the city of Seattle this morning to clear the illegal encampment at the South Plaza without incident,” SCC president Sheila Edwards Lange writes. The full email is below.

CHS is not aware of any arrests in the clearance.

UPDATE 5:40 PM: A city Human Services Department spokesperson tells CHS that the school was mistaken in reporting that the Navigation Team executed Tuesday morning’s clearance. “The operation today was SPD and not the Navigation Team,” the spokesperson said. “There may be some confusion around Navigation Team SPD officers being involved but they would be operating under their SPD chain of command and not in their roles as members of the Navigation Team.”

Continue reading

As the Capitol Hill protest zone is reopened and repaired, CHOP 2.0 still in place at Seattle Central College

CHOP 2.0 is proving to be as tenacious as its predecessor.

School officials say they continue to work with camp organizers and the city for a voluntary clearance of the collection of tents and tables that has grown on the south plaza lawn of Seattle Central following the raid and sweep of the occupied protest from Cal Anderson and around the East Precinct.

The school says the camp has included an “open display of weapons on campus” and must be voluntarily cleared in days or the college will turn the matter over to Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle City Hall, and SPD.

“Seattle Central College supports the exercise of free speech, and we stand in solidarity with the protests against police brutality and in support of Black Lives Matter,” school president Sheila Edwards Lange writes in a letter to staff and students sent Wednesday morning. “Our South Plaza is, in fact, officially a protest area. But it is not a designated camping ground or a shelter space.”

In the letter, the school official describes a “settlement of tents and awnings on that site is growing and it’s taking on an aggressive and intimidating posture.” Continue reading

School says no CHOP 2 at Capitol Hill’s Seattle Central

Remnants of CHOP at Seattle Cenral (Image: CHS)

There will be no rebirth of the CHOP occupied protest camp on Capitol Hill’s Seattle Central College campus.

School officials say they will not allow a small camp of tents to grow on the college’s south lawn.

“We are currently working with the City of Seattle Police Department and navigation team to relocate the people camping on our property,” a spokesperson for the public community college told CHS Thursday. Continue reading

Seattle Central’s Capitol Hill growth plan includes new tech building on Broadway, student housing replacing parking garage

Student housing rendering

The longterm plan? Replace SCC’s massive parking garage with student housing

A proposed set of updates to Seattle Central’s growth plan could mean some big changes for the school and the neighborhood over the next 20 years including a new technology building on Broadway and new student housing replacing the school’s massive E Pine parking garage. In more normal times, the master plan update would be chugging along right now, holding meetings, gathering public comment, revising drafts of the proposed changes. Typically, this sort of update would take two years.

But like everything else, the update is on a kind of pause while we wait for the COVID-19 crisis to shake out.

Seattle Central, like all large institutions (mostly colleges and hospitals) across the city, has its own land use master plan separate from the surrounding neighborhood. The current plan for Seattle Central was developed in 2002, with the idea that it would last for 10 years. So, in true Seattle style, here we are 18 years later doing the update.

But even that will take longer than it usually would. Brittney Moraski, a member of the advisory committee studying the update, noted there is a moratorium on meetings for their committee and others like it, owing to virus concerns. Meetings through June have been canceled. July isn’t looking good, either.

“Our work has been paused,” she said.

Some of the process has moved online. Continue reading

How you can help shape the future of Broadway by helping shape the future of Seattle Central’s buildings

The view from SCC (Image: Seattle Central College)

The City of Seattle is looking for Capitol Hill community members to serve on a Citizen Advisory Committee to help develop a new Master Plan for Broadway’s Seattle Central to guide the school’s future development.

“Volunteers would serve on a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) which is made up of neighborhood residents with experience in neighborhood organizations and issues, land use and zoning, architecture, landscaping, economic development, building development or educational services who will work with the City and SCC,” the city announcement reads. Continue reading

Save the Broadway Performance Hall? You have a few years but Seattle Central planning major overhaul

(Image: Broadway Performance Hall)

If Kshama Sawant wants to save a Seattle performance venue, we’ve found one closer to Capitol Hill than the Showbox to work on. Time is gradually running out for the Broadway Performance Hall at Seattle Central College. College officials hope to overhaul the building and end its days as a venue for local plays and performances, but state budgeting priorities mean construction isn’t likely to start for at least five or six years.

The building is more than 100 years old though it was “modernized” in 1979 and rates the lowest on the campus in terms of facilities, said Barbara Childs, spokesperson for Seattle Central. While it met standards when it was built, it is no longer up to code in terms of energy efficiency or seismic standards. Additionally, the sandstone keeps absorbing water, causing more problems, Childs said.

Beyond the need for physical upgrades, the school is in need of more library space, and more space for open studying, in order to meet accreditation standards. The school hopes to meet all of those goals with one large project. Continue reading