Legislature funding includes new STEM building

Aerial photo of UW Bothell Cascadia campus

UW Bothell and Cascadia College will share a new STEM building on campus.

The recent session of the Washington Legislature made a significant investment in the future of the University of Washington Bothell by sending the governor budgets that will add a new science building to campus and start a behavioral health program.  

Lawmakers also decided to fully fund the State Need Grant, now to be called the Washington College Grant, making higher education achievable for all Washington students. 

Meeting STEM demand 

The most visible addition to campus, under the budgets signed May 21 by Gov. Jay Inslee, will be the science building that UW Bothell will share with Cascadia College. Lawmakers approved $76 million, which along with a previous appropriation, brings the total investment to $79 million. It will open more room for UW Bothell’s School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM). 

The new building is expected to be located between UW Bothell’s Discovery Hall, home of the School of STEM, and the CC3 Cascadia building. It's expected to open in the fall of 2022. 

Chancellor Wolf Yeigh said the university is grateful for the support from the state, especially from our elected officials. 

“This funding will enable us to proceed with a new building that will add to our ability to graduate more students prepared for high-demand jobs in science, technology, engineering and math,” Yeigh said. 

The Economic Alliance of Snohomish County and Life Science Washington supported the funding in the capital budget because qualified applicants for high-demand jobs in biotech and aerospace are in short supply.  

Shared building 

“It’s important to note that UW Bothell and Cascadia College are partners in the project,” Yeigh added, “extending our distinctive cooperation on our shared campus.” 

The new building represents the best of each institution, their respective missions and the co-located campus, Cascadia President Eric Murray said.  

“Together, we model for students our joint goals of integrated education and academic pathways that will help them succeed. This building will provide opportunities for students, faculty and staff to realize education in unique ways not found at any other institution in the country," Murray said. 

UW Bothell’s interests are promoted in Olympia by Kelly Snyder, assistant vice chancellor of campus and community development; and Ryan McIrvin, assistant director of government and community relations, who reported success on these budget items. 

Critical investments 

STEM operations: A new Workforce Education Investment Act will be the source of $1.5 million to support continued growth in the School of STEM. It will fund new faculty and enable another 210 students to enroll in programs to support the Bothell Biomedical Manufacturing Innovation Partnership Zone.  

Student financial aid: Replacing the State Need Grant with the new, more generous Washington College Grant will tap a dedicated revenue stream to help make a college education affordable for more than 1,700 UW Bothell students who are eligible for federal Pell grants. 

Behavioral health certificate: Lawmakers approved $400,000 for the School of Nursing & Health Studies (SNHS) to develop online behavioral health courses for K-12 teachers and staff. 

SNHS Dean Shari Dworkin said the university is working with stakeholders to develop courses that will cover foundational knowledge of mental health, mental illness and substance use. Teachers and staff will be taught how to promote the health and well-being of public-school students, including when and how to intervene. 

"We are pleased to be a part of statewide efforts to assist with the mental health needs of students in the K-12 system,” Dworkin said. “Targeting all school professionals with more robust behavioral health competencies will help to bolster mental health support and services for students in public schools in Washington state." 

The certificate program was strongly supported by Rep. Tana Senn of Mercer Island who believes it will provide K-12 teachers skills to recognize problems and potentially prevent school violence. 

Park educational center: The budget also will provide $750,000 to Washington State Parks for an education and research center at Saint Edward State Park that UW Bothell faculty are helping plan. 

“This could be a site where we teach our field classes, conduct field research, mentor students, engage communities and much more,” said David Stokes, professor of ecology and conservation biology in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, who has been working with state and community project leaders. 

Interstate improvements: Of interest to campus commuters is $600 million that lawmakers approved for Interstate 405. It will add a lane between Highway 522 and Highway 527 and improve those two interchanges.


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