With programs that draw from across the state, country and globe, Shoreline Community College continues to look for ways to help students meet their needs for housing while getting the education and training that can change their lives.
“We’re committed to finding a housing solution that works for our students, the college and the community,” President Cheryl Roberts said. “Whether a student comes from down the street or from one of the more than 40 countries represented on campus, any housing solution must be open to all students.”
Roberts said that details of any arrangement must make financial sense for the college and the state. “We’re a state agency and need to make sure we’re good stewards of the public’s money and trust,” she said.
The college also has to be cognizant of its effects on immediate neighbors, the city and larger region. “We’re working closely with Shoreline city staff and elected officials to align our efforts with theirs,” Roberts said. “We do have a significant impact on the local and regional economy, but we also want to be sensitive to our immediate neighbors.”
Currently, the college works with three independent agencies to arrange homestay opportunities for international students. There is also a list of housing resources available to both domestic and international students. However, none of those options is directly overseen by the college.
College officials have been looking at a variety of housing options for the past several years. One possibility arose in 2011 with an offer from local and international investors to build a residence hall on campus. While that project may remain a possibility, a recent discussion with the investors’ representatives explored other opportunities while reinforcing the desire on all sides to continuing working together.
“Off-campus housing solutions are also a possibility,” Roberts said.
Recent discussions for off-campus housing didn’t bear fruit, but Roberts said the college remains open to a variety of housing options. “We’re open to ideas that meet the needs of students, the college and the community,” she said. Leasing of existing housing by the college to make available to students is also a potential solution and could come more quickly than options that include the longer timeline of construction.
While the college is interested in housing, either on- or off-campus, the parameters for each differ.
An off-campus project requires finding available land, a willing seller, etc., while an on-campus facility would go on property owned by the state of Washington. A key piece of the regulatory groundwork for building on campus was put in place in June, 2014, when a Master Development Plan (MDP) was completed with the city.
“Shoreline is celebrating its 50th anniversary,” Roberts said. “The one constant over that time is the college has adjusted to meet the needs of students and communities it serves. Adding housing, and doing it in a reasonable and sustainable way, is one of those adjustments as we look forward to creating a legacy for the next 50 years of great.”