University of Washington Tacoma officials are closer to finalizing a master plan that could completely revamp a hillside stretch of downtown Tacoma.
Though the plan, which calls for a 33-acre, $80 million urban campus bustling with 15,000 full-time students, has been presented to a variety of community organizations throughout the year, on Tuesday UW Tacoma Chancellor Patricia Spakes told Tacoma City Councilmembers the university’s board of regents would vote on the master plan Nov. 20.
She also provided an architect’s rendering of University Terrace (pictured), the biggest visual change to a stretch of downtown that spans Market Street to Fawcett Avenue, between 17th Street and 19th Street. The project calls for the closure of 19th Street between Market and Fawcett to make the area more pedestrian friendly, the creation of the Japanese Language School Memorial Garden, and a new recreational play field between Fawcett Street and Tacoma Avenue. University Terrace would provide open space ringed by LEED-certified buildings that would house residence and activity halls, administrative offices, and classrooms.
“University Terrace is a very exciting concept because it creates a sense of community,” said Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma during City Council’s weekly noon study session yesterday. “I think that’s an important piece to this concept.”
According to Spakes, the growing, 17-year-old branch campus that once solely served graduate and transfer students is adopting a more traditional, four-year university environment. UW Tacoma welcomed its first group of freshmen — 190 students — two years ago.
In the near-term, the university is expected to spend $5 million on property acquisition, and $500,000 for pre-design work.
During yesterday evening’s full City Council meeting, councilmembers were slated to vote on a resolution acknowledging they had been briefed on the university’s master plan.
For more information about the university’s master plan, visit tacoma.washington.edu/chancellor/masterplan/.