UW News

May 1, 2008

Educational Outreach comes together at UW Tower

UW News

For the folks in Educational Outreach (UWEO), relocating to UW Tower is more than just another move, it’s a chance to come together under the same roof for the first time in many years.

And a few charred and scavenged items from a fire six years back are reminders of the obstacles the division overcame along the way to this new home, with its grand, sweeping view of Seattle.

Educational Outreach is the umbrella office for a variety of educational programs offered by the UW. It includes UW Extension certificate programs and short courses, the undergraduate Evening Degree Program, summer quarter classes, professionally focused graduate degrees, online learning, non-degree enrollment and the English Language Program for employees, among others. Long an element of UW life, the division dates back to 1912.

Before this recent move, Educational Outreach was mostly housed in three locations — Roosevelt Commons, the King Building near University Village and offices near Northgate. The three are now combined on four floors of UW Tower, plus a few necessary remote locations. The registration unit remains in Roosevelt Commons until its new home is ready, in the S building alongside the tower, where the International House of Pancakes was for decades.

“It’s very gratifying,” said Dave Szatmary, vice provost for Educational Outreach. “The staff are very excited about being in the same place. I’ve been here 25 years and it’s never happened before.”

Szatmary said UWEO was located in Lewis Hall when he came to the UW, and then moved to the Olson Building, near University Village. Then, on Dec. 19, 2002, the Olson Building burned to the ground.

The building was a total loss, but thanks to Marc Elvy, a dedicated and quick-thinking network manager, most of Educational Outreach’s computer data were saved. “He took them apart and dried them with his wife’s hair dryer and put them back together,” Szatmary said. “And they worked, believe it or not.” Within a couple of days, the division was back up and running at the King Building.

Szatmary’s office on the 21st floor of UW Tower is the resting place for a few such charred memories from the Olson Building, including part of a quilt made by his wife, Mary C. Wright, a senior lecturer for the American Indian Studies Program and the Department of History, and a talented quilter. He also still has the hard hat he used to tour the remains of the burned Olson building.

Last year, Educational Outreach was slated to move to an ecologically up-to-date new building to be constructed along University Way above 40th Street, but that site didn’t pan out and construction was canceled.

When the time came to move to UW Tower, the same efficiency was called upon that helped UWEO through the losses of the 2002 fire. Clark Westmoreland, executive director of operations, said that the office’s information technology people worked up to 80 hours a week reconfiguring computers for the move, “and they did a marvelous job.”

And it was the network manager Elvy again who helped the transition work so smoothly, along with help from Scott Mah and others at UW Technology (formerly Computing & Communications). Szatmary said “No one missed a beat. We walked in and started working. It was seamless — an unbelievable move.”

Westmoreland said the various units of Educational Outreach got to offer input into how the offices would be arranged. “Everybody was very much in alignment that we needed to create collaborative spaces … we wanted to sort of decorporatize the feeling of the place.”

So Educational Outreach, like its neighbors in UW Tower, is contentedly settling into a new home, which is a benefit to its students and the UW community.

There’s just one small remaining detail, however, which in Seattle tends to loom large: “There’s no coffee yet,” Westmoreland said. But that, too, is coming soon.