Beginning three years after the state legislature authorized two year schools to be established in counties with existing four year schools, Bellevue College began with evening classes hosted at Newport High School. In the last 50 years it has since become the second largest school in state behind only UW and the largest two-year school overall. With an ever increasing student population the design and vision for BC has grown as well.
The guiding document for the college’s new directions is the master plan, which analyzes various aspects of the school such as student count, expected growth and institutional priorities. The current document was drafted in 2008 and meant to guide for a decade, it was last updated in 2010. Currently, a new master plan is being drafted by members of Campus Operations Vidya Ramachandran and Dexter Johnson, in tandem with a steering committee which includes various members of administration including VPs Raymond White, Ata Karim and Tom Nielsen. In addition to members of the college, several engineering and landscaping firms have been acting as consultants on the project.
Ramachandran described the master plan as “kind of a living document, sometimes it makes sense and people incorporate it. Sometimes it doesn’t get incorporated. That depends on a lot of other things, like funding, program changes, needs of the campus, things like that.” Currently, materials documenting the master planning process are available online at
Bellevuecollege.edu/futurecampus. These include one published in September entitled “visioning” which laid out the process, another published in January that analyzes existing conditions on campus, including accounts of floor space, yearly student head count and detailed images of campus features such as topology and means of transportation. Another document available on the future campus page analyzes “space needs and strategies,” while the “presentation” document dated May 3 is largely a synthesis of the others, and also shows a tentative layout for new buildings that may be constructed in the next three decades.
Within a few years, on-campus student housing should be completed. Parking lot nine near the baseball fields will be replaced with apartments. Ramachandran explained it “will have 350 beds, and all the student life infrastructure.” Students will have single room studios or up to four bedroom apartments right on campus, each with its own shower and kitchen. “there will be common infrastructure, like lounges where kids can go study,” said Ramachandran. “There’ll be a larger community area which commuter students can also access” with entertainment options “like ping pong tables, pool tables, maybe video games.”
Throughout the process student and community input has been sought. During Earth Week, in one case students were asked to write on a postboard what they believe a campus that supports social justice would include. Suggested ideas were largely regarding food services, insisting on a usage of local produce and providing more options for vegans, vegetarians and halal Muslims. Second to diversifying on-campus food options were academic concerns such as adding new four-year degrees and reducing textbook prices.
The “visioning” document laid out the primary goals for the next 10 and 30 years. Amongst plans for the coming decade are “keep the mission alive,” referring to the college’s stated mission and “become a residential institution with 24/7 access,” which will be fulfilled with the addition of on-campus housing.
The first two goals in the 30 year scope are to achieve “energy neutrality” as well as “global recognition of BC Social Justice.” Unlike the previous master plan which made no mention of the term, Ramachandran explained “You will see how equally social justice is incorporated in this master plan as well. The management’s understanding is that BC should represent as a campus, that it has the best equity and social justice.”