Proposed $500M plan would double Bellevue College’s square footage

Bellevue College’s campus could more than double in size over the next 30 years if the Board of Trustees approves a $500 million master plan.

Under the plan proposed Jan. 10, the college would replace or renovate some of the existing structures and construct more than 20 new buildings, increasing the campus’ square footage of academic buildings from 835,000 to 1.4 million.

The plan would also support engagement with the surrounding community through a community partnership space, increase pedestrian and bicycle paths and an eastward expansion towards 148th Avenue Southeast. It is divided into two phases: One for implementation over the next decade, and the other stretched over the next 30 years.

“We want this plan to be relevant today, but give you a roadmap for the future,” Brodie Bain of design firm Perkins + Will told the board.

In Phase 1, the college will replace or renovate a couple of existing buildings that are now 50 years old and contain dated infrastructure. This portion of the plan would cost an estimated $100 million.

Most of the proposed changes would occur in Phase 2, including the new academic buildings, parking garages and a community partnership space. The community partnership space could be the home for a collaboration with the city or a specific business and house a community swimming pool, school of dentistry or one of the many other ideas that have been floated to the college.

These facilities would be constructed in the eastern portion of the college’s land holdings, including sites currently used for open-air parking.

“Our strategic direction is more outreach and engagement with the city of Bellevue and surrounding community,” said Raymond White, vice president of administrative services and co-author of the master plan.

“We worked pretty closely with the city. They’re interested in learning what our potential is. The recent rezoning of the Eastgate property will allow for a much more dynamic, robust community.”

College officials worked with the city of Bellevue, which has been working over the last few years to revamp the Eastgate/I-90 corridor. A zoning change proposal made by the Eastgate Citizen Advisory Committee would support housing, retail, mixed-use development as well as more pedestrian friendly areas connected to the college.

To accommodate the increase in foot traffic, the designers have proposed closing a couple of roads — including Kelsey Creek Road and 145th Avenue Southeast — and rerouting a King County Metro bus route running through campus.

Given that the college’s newer facilities have cost around $40 million each to construct, Phase 2 could cost upwards of $400 million, White said. He added that the proposal is aspirational and depends on enrollment and funding.

Bellevue College’s enrollment is expected to grow at a rate of 1.8 percent annually. With limited housing available nearby, and an increase in full-time and international students, the college is already moving forward with one of the housing facilities included in the proposal.

The Board of Trustees will vote on the plan at their Feb. 1 meeting.