EvCC students draw up design schemes for future Mville civic complex

Teams of Everett Community College business and engineering majors presented Marysville city officials in December with some free design ideas for a proposed future downtown civic complex that will provide a central access point for citizens and city staff.
City officials envision a city administrative campus that would consolidate the various departments onto a single campus, and provide office space for future employee growth. The vision for the campus is to create a park-like, plaza setting with water features and public art that create a lively gathering place. The two campus sites under consideration are the Comeford Park site, and downtown property owned by the city along Ebey Waterfront, just east of State Avenue.
City officials said the civic campus would also help set the tone for economic development in the citys downtown and waterfront area.
Students enrolled in the Fall Quarter Business 102 class Innovation in Design were assigned to design the multi-story building(s) complex with 66,000-square-feet dedicated to office space to support the current base of 250 city employees, and parking to accommodate 500 vehicles, with a budget of $50 million. Students also took into account population and staff projections through the year 2025.
When the in-class presentations ended, students got affirmation that their hard work was valued by the mayors staff and added meaningful ideas to the planning process. City officials left with building models and drawing schematics in hand, any one of which could be an early rendering of a future civic campus.
Overall, we give the class an A for effort and innovation, says Mayor Dennis Kendall. The students put a lot of thought and creativity into their designs, and it showed.
As part of the assignment instructor Catherine McHugh encouraged students to integrate transportation systems and green design elements that would incorporate sustainability and cause minimal to no environmental impact.
The class divided into four student teams, two of which designed for the Comeford Park area; the other two teams took the Ebey waterfront property.
Student ideas generated for Comeford Park included a six-story main building; parking garage; an outdoor, pergola-style train station to support future commuter rail; and a decorative pedestrian bridge across Fourth Street to connect the civic campus with Marysville Towne Centre Mall.
For the Ebey waterfront site, student recommendations included multi-story windowed buildings that would maximize sunlight, parking garage, and campus features that encouraged outdoor recreation and tourism. The campus would draw visitors closer to nature by providing a walking trail beneath SR 529 connecting Ebey Waterfront Park with the civic campus, then continuing into the Snohomish River Estuary.
The students incorporated numerous green elements and energy-efficient features that included innovative lighting, ground source heat pumps, recycling water for irrigation and on-site water features, rooftop greenery, and heat-saving revolving doors. Some students focused on ways to reduce maintenance and operational costs over the long-run, and promote more efficient energy use.
Swenson said the department directors enjoyed the exercise, meeting with the students during the quarter as their assignment took shape, and seeing the final results. It was fun to come into the process with people who have given us an entirely different perspective. Congratulations to the students. They did a fantastic job.
EvCC officials were equally impressed with the projects results.
Lynn Munoz, Director of the School of Business Design, said the partnership project between the City and EvCC was an exciting hands-on experience for the students.
The mayors staff was very gracious and responsive to students questions and the process from the beginning. We are very grateful for the opportunity to work with the city on such a comprehensive project.
Course instructor Catherine McHugh, who worked tirelessly with the city to pull the assignment together, said the project gave students real work to do. It was very meaningful, and the students got to see behind the scenes of how the city works. The staff made it fun, and the interactions were very energetic.
McHugh was pleased that all the student teams incorporated green design into the projects, an approach that would stay with them on future projects when they enter the careers of choice.
Funding for the civic campus will likely come from a few different sources, such as selling other buildings and property owned by the city, construction sales tax revenue and councilmanic bonds, said Mary Swenson, Chief Administrative Officer.
City officials point to the EvCC exercise as an example of experiential learning that is a cornerstone of the Preliminary Academic Plan prepared for the proposed UW North Sound branch campus and submitted to Gov. Christine Gregoire, wherever the campus is ultimately built. The Smokey Point site in Marysville is second to the Everett Train Station site, according to a consultants study.
The City Council will discuss the city campus proposal at its annual retreat in early 2008. Kendall hopes to break ground/have designs in hand by mid-2008.

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