East campus update

Back in August of 2010, Bellevue College purchased a 20-acre parcel of land in the Issaquah Highlands to be the prospective home of the BC East Campus. The territory is within range of the Swedish Hospital Medical Center, various small shops and businesses that line Highlands Drive, the City of Issaquah soccer field at central park and Grand Ridge Elementary.

BC is making steady progress on the development of a campus master plan. “We’re taking a deliberate approach to ensure the campus is planned in a thoughtful, efficient way that fits with BC’s mission as well as the community’s needs and values,” said David Sandler, public relations manager at BC.

On May 1, 2012, a town hall meeting was conducted to discuss the projected open of the BC east campus. Recently, there has been an emphasis on communicating with the Issaquah community at large, by holding booths at various festivals in the area, including Salmon Days and Highland Days. “We’ve received many excellent ideas, and are working to develop a long-term vision for the campus,” said Bart Becker, the director of marketing.

The campus will initially have one building and eventually grow to include several classroom buildings to form a true campus. Due to the presence of several large high schools in the area, Running Start classes may be offered at the new campus to attract more students.

The Swedish Hospital in the Highlands is planning to be in co-ordinance with students involved in health-science programs. Mid-career business professionals also have their eye on the new campus. The Highlands present an outlet for environmental science curriculums due to the nearby woodland.  Becker also added, “we also envision the campus possibly hosting summer campus for kids, or serving as the location for family, cultural, and community events.”

The campus is still in the early stages of the master planning process, involving City of Issaquah officials and the staff of BC. “For the past few months, Bellevue College has been gathering information to see where our strengths and the interests of the Issaquah community align,” said Sandler.

In the Issaquah Press, Keith Niven, City Economic Development Director, commented on the progress being made. “They’re kind of holding a pattern until they get a replacement president,” he said.

The Issaquah Highland’s multi-generational and multi-cultural environment is a major attraction for the new campus. The population growth in the Issaquah-Sammamish area provides a promising opportunity to extend BC services to the east.

Instructional planning for the east campus location is currently under discussion. The public is invited to provide input on the types of classes and programs that are desirable at the new campus. Becker encouraged students to “voice their opinions regarding what they would like to see in the campus, whether it’s certain classes and programs, or certain features in the facilities, such as a gym or science lab.”

To support a course of study to be taught on the East Campus, visit https://bellevuecollege.edu/surveys/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=m43K364.