In October, Bellevue College hired a consultant to conduct a feasibility test, which confirmed the viability of completing BC’s first dormitory by fall 2018. With the newly gained information, VP of Institutional Advancement Ray White and many other project leaders will plan their next steps.
A feasibility test is a preliminary study that is conducted in the very early stages of a construction project. This study defines key elements that will determine the viability of the project and the expected completion date. The test determines the total cost, different payment options and the reliability of the location that it will be built in.
“The feasibility study answered three questions for us,” said White. “If we put in housing, where should we put it, how many beds should we build and how should we pay for it?” In the proposed plan, the consultant separated the dormitory construction into three phases or buildings, each having a total of 350 to 354 beds. “They recommend that we build on the parking lot right across from the baseball field, at the north side of campus,” explained White.
The first dorm will be a four-story apartment building larger than the upcoming Health and Sciences building. “It will be designed so that everyone will have their own bedrooms and access to a kitchen and a common area,” explained White. The second and third buildings will be similar to college dormitories, with dining halls.
“Phase two and phase three are the second and third buildings, and would march towards the campus along the road,” said White.
White expects at least 1,000 students to be living in one of these housing options. The other two phases will be completed in the four years after the first phase.
With the completion of this test, White and other BC project officials were able to get a sense of how to complete and pay for the construction. The first phase will cost up to $44 million and the other two phases are expected to cost the same.
According to White, “We’re going to pay for it as much as we can with borrowed money, since interest rates are pretty low.”
Therefore, the construction of the dorm will not affect student tuition.
Students who plan on living in these dormitories will have to pay $800 to $1,000. “That’s comparable with other Seattle schools,” said White, “We’ll also create a fund so we can offer need-based housing scholarships. We want to make the housing affordable to everybody.”
Although the feasibility test confirmed the construction details for project leaders, there are still other variables that must be determined. For example, the construction of the first phase will be on the parking lot across from the baseball field, which might affect the number of parking spaces at Bellevue College.
Additionally, when the construction starts, the north entrance might be blocked and it is possible that this will affect student transportation and King County Metro routes.
With the completion of the feasibility test, BC closer to completing their first dormitory by fall 2018. The construction of the first phase will begin by spring 2016, as well as the studies of the next phases.