Highline entrance set to receive dramatic facelift
By Anas Ashoor - Staff Reporter
Highline's main entrance will shift to the north end of campus within the next five years as construction begins this fall on the $1.4 billion proj- ect to extend light rail from An- gle Lake to Federal Way.
And it could be sooner, rath- er than later.
The new entrance will be built as part of the construction of a light rail station across Pacific Highway South from the college's new Campus View dormitory.
The current main entrance to Highline is the horseshoe-shaped drive off of South 240th Street near the college's original admin- istration offices in Building 1.
The college will spend about $840,000 on the new entrance near South 236th Lane and the City of Des Moines and Sound Transit are expected to chip in another $560,000 for the project.
The start date moved a step closer this week with the an- nouncement that Kiewit Infra- structure West Co. has been selected to design and build the 7.8-mile-long Link light rail ex- tension.
Early demolition and utility relocation work on the exten- sion will begin later this year, with major construction start- ing next year. It will connect the existing Angle Lake station at South 200th Street in SeaTac to the Federal Way Transit Center.
The project will include three new stations along the route and Kiewit will work the Highline entrance into its con- struction plans for the Kent-Des Moines station that will serve the college at South 236th Lane.
Although the entire line will not open until 2024, the Kent- Des Moines station and new entrance could be ready well
in advance of the Federal Way components, depending on how Sound Transit intends to stage the construction.
Barry Holldorf, the college's director of Facilities, said that there will be a roundabout in the East Parking Lot at the west end of the new entrance and it will include signage for the col- lege in the middle.
"There's going to be a big Highline sign in the middle to show you where you're going,"
he said.‚Ä®He speculated that because
there will need to be a lot of truck traffic involved in the construction of the Kent-Des Moines light rail station that it would make sense to build the new Highline entrance sooner, rather than later because in- stalling a traffic signal at South 236th first will make accessing the light rail station site easier.
But the timeline is totally up to Sound Transit and Kewit, he said.
Meanwhile, Sound Transit is collaborating with the Washing- ton State Department of Trans- portation to build, at the same time, the State Route 509 Com- pletion Project that will signifi- cantly alter I-5 between South 200th and South 272nd streets. Sound Transit says undertaking multiple projects at the same time will reduce impacts on the affected communities.
In addition to the news of Kiewit's selection as the prime contractor, Sound Transit last week also narrowed the num- ber of sites under consideration for its 30-acre maintenance and operations facility to the Mid- way Landfill and two parcels in south Federal Way.
Most of the testimony before the Sound Transit board was in favor of the Midway site with Federal Way officials lobbying heavily against selection of the two sites in their city.
The Midway Landfill site is expected to be by far the most expensive location as it is an En- vironmental Protection Agency Superfund site. The decision to reduce the number of sites still under consideration brought a formal end to a controversy over plans to possibly wipe out the new Dick's Drive-In and Lowe's for the maintenance and operations facility.