The UW Bothell campus is the state’s fastest growing campus as well as being the largest branch campus in the state. This was the plan when UW Bothell was in its infancy stages more than 20 years ago; it just took a little longer than expected to achieve those lofty goals. The campuses current expansion is centered on its new STEM school, consisting of the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The STEM building is almost complete and comes at a cost of around $68 million. Even at its current speed of expansion, the school is having trouble finding room for all the highly qualified applicants they receive. UW Bothell has a new chancellor in Bjong Yeigh, who understands the current goals and challenges his new school faces. “We’re bursting at the seams here,” said Yeigh. “There’s a lot of need in our immediate area, and a lot of student demand, so we’re trying to accommodate them as fast as we can go.”
UW Bothell was one of 5 branch campuses created in 1989 by state lawmakers in preparedness for the huge demographic of ‘baby boomer’ children reaching college age. UW opened their Bothell and Tacoma campuses and WSU opened 3 new campuses in Vancouver, Spokane and the Tri-Cities. When Legislature helped create the UW Bothell campus they had goals of reaching 5,000 students a year by 2010. Even though they have not yet reached their lofty goals, there is a current enrollment of 4,500 students this year at UW Bothell. The UW Bothell campus currently offers more than 30 degrees and the list is growing at a rapid rate and producing more than capable graduates into the work force. “I think it’s been quietly transforming,” said Mary Jesse, another member of the STEM advisory board and the founder and CEO of Ivycorp, a Redmond technology company. “Some people will be surprised, I think, at the significance the UW Bothell will have at creating a really strong and solid workforce in Washington. What we’ve heard from industry is that our students come well prepared.”
Bothell is an up and coming city with much to offer in addition to great, affordable college provided by UW Bothell. The city is undergoing massive construction improvements to both its infrastructure, as well as roads and transportation routes and making the city more walkable and healthy for residents, as well as visitors and college students. One recent development that can be seen as a huge advantage to the Bothell housing, rental, and commercial market is the tolls on the bridges to and from Seattle from the Bellevue, Renton, and Mercer Island areas. Bothell is located at the end of Lake Washington, allowing drivers to access both Seattle, as well as the major hubs on the East-side, such as Bellevue without paying tolls. This saves Bothell residences both time and money when it comes to their commutes. The city of Bothell currently has a population of 34,651 people, which is a population change of 14.9% since 2000. This growth is somewhat average in Washington State for the current size of Bothell, which is 12.1 square miles within its city limits. The median household income in Bothell is $69,124, which is significantly higher than the median household income for Washington State, which is $56,835. The median home value in Bothell is $338,854, which is also much higher than the median home value of Washington State, which is $256,300. I suspect Bothell will start growing at a more rapid rate due to the abundance of construction improvements as well as the savings for commuters when it comes to paying tolls on bridges to and from Seattle.
The economic impact on the local economy of Bothell is felt both in the income created by the campus as well as the huge transplant of students attending UW Bothell needing both housing and food and entertainment options, not to mention the huge staff needed to run a large college campus. The UW leaders understand the need to foster relationships and partnerships within the community and have developed several keynotes to direct their initiatives. Those are: Build the UWB community by fostering lifelong learning and alumni outreach. Broaden our impact to encompass diverse local, regional, statewide and global communities. Enhance research activities focused on local through global issues. Promote undergraduate and graduate involvement in service- and community-based learning and research. Develop productive relationships with the employment community. Build on UW Bothell’s reputation by demonstrating our distinctiveness and telling our story. It’s clear that as UW Bothell continues to expand that they will help foster positive economic change for the community of Bothell and that will include the real estate and rental markets.