UW News

October 5, 2016

Building ‘up not out’: Draft UW Campus Master Plan for 2018 now seeking public input

UW News

A new proposed draft Campus Master Plan for 2018 sees the University of Washington’s Seattle campus growing up rather than out — building a little higher, filling in with more density, not expanding its borders, helping to ease transportation flow and creating big new green spaces.

2018 draft Campus Master Plan — opportunities for public comment:

  • Online open house: Oct. 12, noon to 1 p.m.
    Sign up online.
  • Open house: October 18, noon to 2 p.m.
    Cascade Room, Haggett Hall
  • Open house: Oct. 20, 7 – 9 p.m.
    UW Tower, Mezzanine Auditorium,
    4333 Brooklyn Ave. NE

Public comment on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the 2018 Campus Master Plan

  • Online open house: 25, noon to 1 p.m.
    Sign up online.

Public comment on State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) for 2018 Campus Master Plan

  • Open house: 26, 6:30 – 9 p.m.
    UW Tower, Mezzanine Auditorium,
    4333 Brooklyn Ave. NE

“Office hours” – drop-in sessions to discuss the 2018 Seattle Campus Master Plan with Theresa Doherty and Rebecca Barnes

  • Wednesday, Oct 19, 1 – 3 p.m.
    Suzzallo Library Café
  • Monday, Oct. 24, 3 – 5 p.m.
    Café Allegro, 4214 University Way NE
    (Enter from the alley behind Magus Books.)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
    Post Alley Café (4507 Brooklyn Ave NE, in the Hotel Deca)

The Campus Master Plan Advisory Committee and Working Group have done their job — in tandem with the City of Seattle and many area stakeholders — laying out proposed campus development from 2018 through 2028.

The plan is being published Oct. 5. Now it’s time for the public and the campus community to give their input in a series of in-person and online meetings between Oct. 12 and Nov. 2. Comments on the plan are being accepted until Nov. 21.

These include open houses from noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 18 in Haggett Hall and from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 20 in the UW Tower Mezzanine Auditorium, as well as a separate State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Public Hearing to consider the project’s Environmental Impact Statement from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 26, also at the UW Tower.

Online versions of both open houses also will be held, as well as informal “office hours” meetings — where people are invited to discuss plan specifics in person — at three coffee shops in the area.

“I think the headline here is that the university is planning for an increase in faculty, staff and students and responding to collaborative ways of teaching and learning that need larger and different types of spaces,” said Theresa Doherty, senior project director for the plan.

“By building up instead of out, we can create a more sustainable plan with more open spaces that are a real amenity not only to faculty and staff and students, but to our residential and business community in the University District as well.”

The 2018 Campus Master Plan identifies 85 different potential development sites that represent a maximum development potential of 12.9 million gross square feet campuswide of which 6 million will be developed over the life of the plan. Gross square footage means the total square footage of the land and what is built there.

The development is designed to accommodate an expected student enrollment increase of 20 percent from 2014 to 2028. The projected increase of 8,675 FTE, or full-time equivalents, would translate to 52,400 students by 2028, as well as increasing teaching and research demands, future transportation needs and overall economic growth.

The plan also has the potential to create several new parks and green areas for public use, Doherty said: “We’re creating a large new park that would connect to the city’s Portage Bay park along Boat Street, a new open space on South Campus, a large new land bridge with open space on the East Campus and a waterfront trail that can connect to SR 520. These will all enhance our current open spaces and make it easier and more pleasant to traverse campus.”

Each site also includes a maximum allowable height limit. Building heights vary across campus, from 30 feet along the waterfront to 240 feet in South Campus. Many older buildings were constructed at heights lower than what is being proposed, so such sites have the potential for additional capacity.

West Campus


An illustration of changes proposed for the UW’s West Campus area in the 2018 Campus Master Plan.Sasaki Associates

Perhaps the biggest changes will be seen at West Campus, the most urban part of the four areas, which accommodates varied building uses from research to retail, plus student housing, cultural programs and transit services. This area also is, authors of the plan state, “uniquely positioned” to become an inclusive innovation district for the broader Seattle region.

New student housing and improvements along Northeast Campus Parkway, plan authors write, provide a good mix of programmatic amenities and open space — but other areas remain “underdeveloped and grittier in character.”

On West Campus a total of 3 million gross square feet is planned for development, as well as a large, triangular park area reaching from Northeast Pacific Street to Portage Bay along the water creating a new open space the size of Parrington Lawn. The plan calls for the long-term future of West Campus to be “envisioned with a rich new open space network that reinforces its diverse urban context and enhances the pedestrian experience throughout the area.”

South Campus

An illustration of changes proposed for the UW's South Campus in the 2018 Campus Master Plan.

An illustration of changes proposed for the UW’s South Campus area in the 2018 Campus Master Plan.Sasaki Associates

The UW’s South Campus supports its health sciences functions, six health sciences schools and the medical center along a 2 ¼-mile waterfront and is home to academic, research and clinical areas for the schools as well as assorted environmental and natural settings. “Its monolithic structure is dense and disorienting both inside and out,” the Campus Master Plan’s authors write.

The 2018 plan proposes incremental remaking of much of the health sciences complex, totaling 1,350,000 gross square feet of new development. The plan seeks to reduce the scale of development in South Campus “in a manner that promotes school identity, orientation and connectivity” and to “leverage and celebrate” its waterfront location with a shared campus green, courtyards and upper terraces.

A continuous waterfront trail with a public access plan is also envisioned for South Campus, as well as improved access to West, Central and East campuses through enhanced pedestrian connections.

Central Campus

An illustration of changes proposed for the UW's Central Campus in the 2018 Campus Master Plan.

An illustration of changes proposed for the UW’s Central Campus area in the 2018 Campus Master Plan.Sasaki Associates

The UW’s Central Campus, home of the Husky Union Building and many historical academic core buildings, will see 900,000 gross square feet of new development in the 2018 master plan. The aim, plan authors write, is to preserve and enhance the historic core of campus.

The plan proposes a new land bridge from Mason Road by Fluke Hall over the Burke-Gilman Trail and Northeast Montlake Boulevard to new development opportunities on the current E-1 parking lot and Golf Driving Range. Valuable sightlines to Rainer Vista, Union Bay, Mt. Rainier and Portage Bay will be preserved and strengthened.

East Campus

 An illustration of changes proposed for the UW's East Campus area in the 2018 Campus Master Plan.

An illustration of changes proposed for the UW’s East Campus area in the 2018 Campus Master Plan.Sasaki Associates

Plans for the East Campus area, now hosting athletics and recreational activities and parking for campus commuters, will see 750,000 gross square feet of new development in the plan. The intent, plan authors state, is to preserve athletics uses while “transforming existing parking lots into future academic, research and potential partnership spaces.”

The plan aims to strengthen connections between Central and East campus with new development and universally accessible pedestrian walkways. Development is planned in a way to complement the forested edge along Central Campus and discourage the formation of a street wall along Montlake Avenue.

It’s time for a new campus plan because by 2018 the university expects it will have developed almost all of the 3 million gross square feet of space in the last plan, which was approved in 2003.

The process of creating a new plan began in 2015 with a team that worked with consultants Sasaki Associates to assess the university’s expected needs over the next decade — from enrollment growth and greater teaching and research demands to economic expansion and future transportation needs and the evolving needs of the campus community itself.

The plan process is guided by the 1998 City University Agreement between the UW and the City of Seattle. Both the Board of Regents and the Seattle City Council must approve the plan before it can be implemented. The project is co-led by Doherty and University Architect Rebecca Barnes, who is also associate vice provost for capital and campus planning.

Creation of the 2018 Campus Master Plan was guided by five basic principles: providing a flexible framework for growth, supporting learning-based academic and research partnerships, sustainable development, connectivity, and stewardship of historic and cultural resources.

“We hope that the University community will take a few minutes now to give us their feedback. We want this plan to work for the people that are here now and those that we hope to attract in the future,” said Doherty. “This plan is going to guide us into the next decade and beyond — so we really want to get it right!”


For more information on the 2018 Campus Master Plan — and to give input — attend a public or online meeting, or contact Doherty at 206-221-2603 or tdoherty@uw.edu.