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SET building in construction at last, but with lasting effects to parking

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Regardless of your mode of transportation, most students at Edmonds Community College are familiar with the parking problem on campus.

And sometime during late June or August, it’s likely going to get worse, if not merely more complicated.

The good news is that this is due to the construction of the long-awaited SET (science, engineering, and technology) building beginning construction this Fall.

“Despite delays, we are excited to begin this project, which has been 10 years in the making,” said Kevin McKay, vice president of Finance and Operations.

Originally expected to be completed in 2011, the state’s economic recession as well, budget setbacks, as the Legislature’s inability to pass a capitol budget in 2017 created major delays in the approval and construction of the building.

At last, in January of this year, the Washington State Legislature passed the $37.8 million dollar budget for the building, followed by Governor Jay Inslee’s approval.

The 70,000 square foot building will be catered to EdCC’s STEM community, in response to a rising demand to accommodate for an influx of STEM students enrolling at EdCC.

Current enrollment in STEM classes are available at EdCC, but because class space is limited, the number of courses are also limited. The SET building plans hope to amend this issue with chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, nursing, and computer classrooms.

It’s an unequivocal win for the EdCC community that’s been fighting for the project for over a decade.

However, it will be of concern to students in the next year who are struggling with the parking situation, as the SET building will be constructed where Parking Lot A currently is, and will also affect availability in Parking Lot B.

“Since Lot A is employee parking Lot F will be changed from student parking to employee parking,” said Rose Mesec, Capital Projects Manager, in an email to campus.

This is notable in that there is an observable difference between the availability of parking for staff and students.

From an article by Sam Medina in the Triton Review’s May issue: “According to an informal census of empty spaces by journalism students and The Triton Review staff, on Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. there was an average of 98 empty spaces in parking spots reserved for college faculty and staff.

“At the same time, student spaces remained sparse, with an average of just 14 open spots, and those spots constantly shifted as hurried students jockeyed for open parking places. That is a seven to one ratio, showing the disparity between student and faculty parking. The census showed plenty of parking on Fridays, when the college schedules fewer classes.”

It’s difficult to know currently what effect transitioning Lot F from student parking into employee parking will have on the already tense parking problem on campus.

Rose Mesec noted that there is lots of available parking for students that are often overlooked. “I want to urge you to ‘Look to the North’ for over 400 parking spots.”

North campus does indeed have multiple parking spaces, although most of which require up to five minutes extra walking to the main campus.

Scheduling in time to park as well as time to walk if need be may be difficult for some students with tight schedules, especially those commuting long distances or working.

Moreso, there seems to be no plan advertised by the college to expand upon student parking.

Another option is public transportation, as EdCC has a $26 bus pass program with Community Transit, which covers bus rides for a full quarter.

There are costs and consequences to all great endeavors, as seems to be the case with EdCC’s SET building. Time will tell how the college will accomodate for students in the coming year.

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The Student News Site of Edmonds Community College
SET building in construction at last, but with lasting effects to parking