Back to drawing board for planned UWT campus flags

The City of Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission this week rejected a plan to place 19 flags bearing the University of Washington Tacoma logo on 14 historic buildings that comprise the downtown campus.

According to the plan, which was detailed in a design review application submitted to the commission, the nylon flags would measure approximately three-and-a-half feet wide and 11 feet high, and would be placed on the Tioga, Science, Dougan, Joy, Cherry Parkes, McDonald & Smith, Pinkerton, Walsh Gardner, and Mattress Factory Buildings, the Longshoremen’s Hall, and the main academic building.

Approximately $10,000 was set aside for the project. The application was submitted to the landmarks commission because the campus, which stretches between South 17th Street and South 21st Street, is sited within the Union Station Warehouse Historic District.

The flags aimed to help identify the campus and instill pride in the campus community, according to UW Tacoma Director of Facilities and Campus Services Milt Tremblay. Tremblay presented the idea, including images of what the campus would look like with the new flags, to the landmarks commission during its Jan. 14 meeting. He added that the project was the idea of UWT students.

“This came out of the students’ desire for increased campus identity,” he said. “There really isn’t anything that says ‘University of Washington.’ We wanted to start identifying the campus.”

Tremblay added the budget may not fund all 19 flags, and the presentation was designed to give commissioners an idea of the overall concept.

But some commissioners were concerned the flags would create visual clutter, and installation could damage the buildings.

“The sheer number of flags is overwhelming,” said commissioner Greg Benton. “I understand the students’ desire, but there’s got to be a better way.”

“I also agree this has become cluttered,” said commissioner Fred King.

Commissioner Ken House was concerned that mounting aluminum poles to hold the flags could damage the exteriors of university’s historic buildings. “If they can’t attach to masonry joints, it’s not acceptable.”

The commission encouraged Tremblay to meet with students to re-think the plan and return with other ideas.

“I’ll take it back to the students and we’ll look at some options,” said Tremblay.


19 new flags planned for UW Tacoma Campus (01/08/09) —

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