October 18, 2018

Updates on Parrington Hall Remodel

As we get closer to our December move-out date, faculty, staff, and students are also engaging in conversations  regarding the Parrington Hall remodel.  I am grateful for the many items of consideration and feedback we have received thus far from all of these groups – and I encourage you to continue sharing your ideas and thoughts!

The faculty discussed the remodel at their fall retreat, and I had a great meeting with many members of our PhD program on Monday to hear their thoughts on the best use of PhD spaces in a renewed facility.  I look forward to meeting with EMPA cohorts during their upcoming in-residence sessions.

And yesterday I presided over an MPA Town Hall meeting where I discussed the project history, goals, and timeline.  I was also able to provide an early look at the features we are incorporating into the new building.  The presentation (posted here) for those of you who were unable to attend recalls this has been a five year journey, from our first conversations about this wild idea in 2014, to our planned start of construction in early 2019.  We are grateful to our generous donors and to the State of Washington who each provided $10m toward our $20m project goal.  We are especially pleased that no student tuition dollars have been used to support this remodel. 

It won’t be a surprise to any of you that the majority of the remodel dollars will be used to bring our 1902 building into the modern age with new heating, cooling and ventilations systems, new electrical and plumbing, and new IT and lighting.  Assuring access for all who work and study in Parrington is paramount. Our goal is to provide learning environments that support collaboration and active learning both inside the classroom and throughout the building in both formal and informal gathering spaces for students.  All of our efforts are going to reflect the school’s commitment to sustainability and stewardship of this historical building, which has just received historic preservation status in the City of Seattle. 

Later this fall, I will be organizing a building committee to help bring our various stakeholders to the table as decisions are made regarding the functions, furnishings, equipment, and use of learning and shared spaces.  This group will help us organize various forums for soliciting and collecting feedback from students, staff, and faculty.

This project has many significant constraints, including a historic-designated exterior, a significant backlog of deferred maintenance we must upgrade, and a limited budget.  And still, it’s going to be a terrific transformation for the Evans School and those who learn and work here.  Thank you for joining me in imagining a Parrington Hall that will serve the students, faculty, and staff of the Evans School for decades into the future.