The Past, Present, and Future of the SET Building

he latest construction site on the campus of Edmonds Community College continues its plans for a yet to be named Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) building. The emergence of the building be found next to Mountlake Terrace Hall, just follow the construction noises.

As the name suggests, the SET building is meant to host classes for the aforementioned courses, as well as Mathematics, all of which are included in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and, Mathematics), and the Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program The STEM and Allied Health departments of EdCC are heavily involved with the construction, with department members continuing to make arrangements for the to-be STEM building.

This latest construction project was in response to a rise in demand for STEM-related jobs and courses at the college, therefore gaining the approval of a large budget by the Washington State Legislature. Students applying for the STEM course will eventually have a building dedicated just for their STEM and nursing interests. With the rise in classes, we can also predict that EdCC will be hiring more teachers and other faculty to accommodate.

The building will be 70,000 square feet, but the height has yet to be disclosed. Currently, foundation for the building is still being laid down, described as footings made of concrete, which will support the ground floor. This floor will consist of slabs at the lowest level from where the rest of the building will be built on. The utility tunnel that spans underneath Edmonds will have a new connecting tunnel expanding underneath the SET building as well.

A majority of the additions to the building, barring the structure itself, are going to be equipment related to STEM. The state of the faculty offices are still being decided on, and final decisions on what the classrooms will look like have yet to be resolved.

“The building design was decided six or eight years ago,” stated Charlie Crawford, the Executive Vice President for Instruction, “but the use of the building has been determined, so we won’t be knocking down walls.”

Sierra Buckley
Lonely construction equipment, abandoned in the snow.

The first plans of the project can be traced nearly a decade back. The SET building was a priority construction project in 2011, but the recession in that year had caused problems for the state budget to force the project back by several years. It was 2016 by the time it became a proposal with a penciled budget by Gov. Jay Inslee. At the time when the SET building construction finally broke ground in Sept. 12, 2018, the budget became significantly larger when it was approved by the state. It has been predicted that construction will be finished by May 2020.

As of Jan. 24, 2019, Rose Mesec, the Capital Projects Manager in charge of the SET building, reports that costs will be around $35 million due to the add-ons. Change orders are still waiting to be processed, and furnishing costs may amount to $1.5 million. The cost for the building appear to be at $36.5 million at this point. In 2016, the budget proposed had been $37.8 million, but had risen to $47.1 million as in 2018.

“The money to build it comes from the State and that money comes through taxes,” Mesec explained. “The Edmonds Community College Foundation will help us with the shortfall of funding the building with their fundraising efforts from private citizens, including employees that sign up for payroll deduction payments into the fund.”

Crawford is in the opinion that this is a good investment, saying “I think it’s very cool. Our labs on campus are getting older.”

For more details, the EdCC official website has news regarding the SET building and the involved faculty members. For other details regarding construction on the campus, a master plan can be be found on the website as well.