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Federal Way Council seeks to attract college downtown
The Federal Way City Council unanimously approved bringing a college to the city’s downtown as an official initiative on Tuesday.
Spearheaded by Councilwoman Kelly Maloney, the University/College Initiative and/or Intellectual Innovation Zone is part of city leaders’ continuing effort to revitalize the city’s downtown core.
Maloney explained some of the reasoning for having the Council adopt this idea as an “official initiative.”
“The concept is to attract and partner with colleges and universities, to locate satellite campuses in our downtown core,” Maloney said during the Council meeting on Tuesday. “These institutions will offer undergraduate and graduate degrees and they will have a focus on research and development across a broad spectrum of sectors … By locating these institutions in the downtown core, we will attract and hopefully retain businesses that want to work in concert with the colleges and universities for research and development, and then hopefully hire graduates from those programs.”
She added that a combination of factors in Federal Way’s downtown “means jobs for Federal Way residents,” and would “provide higher education opportunities for Federal Way residents.”
Part of the initiative would help low-income students with tuition costs.
One of the city’s first moves to take with this new initiative would be to to undertake a “needs assessment,” which would gauge whether a satellite campus is something Federal Way needs, and whether any institutions would be interested in placing a satellite campus in Federal Way. Other Council members said the initiative will move the city another step in the right direction.
“I grew up in Tacoma, and when I look at what’s happened in downtown, I don’t believe it would have happened without the University of Washington coming in,” Councilwoman Susan Honda said. “Tacoma had a plan for their downtown, but without the University of Washington coming in, it wouldn’t look like what it does today and it wouldn’t be as successful. I would like to go forward with this and if the assessment shows this is something we need, let’s move forward on it.”
“I concur very much,” said Councilwoman Dini Duclos. “I think having a university or college downtown would be great.”
This initiative joins other major projects the Council recently approved for the city’s downtown core, among them Town Square Park and the Performing Arts and Conference Center.