UW Fed Way finds locations

By Chloe Wilhelm - Staff Reporter

Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell said a proposed UW-Tacoma/Highline campus could be in an office building just off South 320th Street near Interstate 5.

Ferrell said that in the long-term he wants to see a permanent campus built near Federal Way's Performing Arts and Events Center. 

"We're looking at the high rise just off the freeway," Ferrell said.  He reiterated that the new campus could be open "as early as this fall."

However, on Wednesday, Ferrell's Communications Coordinator Tyler Hemstreet said that the city is still looking at several locations.

"The team has already toured two sites for the interim campus in Federal Way," Hemstreet said. "However, it has not selected an interim site yet. We are in the midst of working out some key factors."

Officials from the Washington-Tacoma did not respond to requests for comment. 

 Michael George, the real estate representative for the building, also declined to comment.

The building, formally known as The Centre at Federal Way, is located at 2505 S. 320th St.  

An online listing for the five-story property says it has more than 44,000 square feet available for lease. 

 According to a sign on the building, Prudential Northwest Realty is one of the tenants.

Ferrell visited Highline on Tuesday to talk about voting and city affairs.

Federal Way officials have been angling for a college campus within the city limits for several years.  

Earlier this year, Federal Way legislators asked for $800,000 to fund the Highline/UWT project. 

The Legislature appropriated only $500,000 for the project, which city officials initially said would not be enough.  But later this spring they said they had a way to make it work for the lesser amount. 

City officials have touted the economic impact of a campus in Federal Way, as well as the convenience for local students.

Ferrell said that he is looking forward to having a college campus in Federal Way.

"We want a Highline and University of Washington presence in the city of Federal Way," he said.

There was once a Highline campus in Federal Way, which closed in the mid-2000s due to low enrollment. The University of Phoenix campus in Federal Way also closed several years ago.

Almost two-thirds of Federal Way residents who are 25 and older have earned a high school diploma, but not a bachelor's degree, said one study.

MGT of American Consulting assessed higher education needs for the city of Federal Way.

The study concluded that Federal Way is expected to grow by 17 percent during the next 25 years, which increases the need for higher education classes in the city.

Officials from UW-Tacoma and the City of Federal Way did not respond to requests for comment.

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