Clark County colleges get millions in funding in capital budget

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Rick Bannan

rick@thereflector.com

North County is slated to see funding for a variety of projects in the state’s coming biennium as the recently-approved capital budget has dollars for colleges, infrastructure, and a new library in Woodland, among other items.

Substitute House Bill 1080 passed the Washington State Senate April 25, appropriating $6.3 billion in spending for capital projects statewide. Of that amount, more than $118 million will go toward projects benefiting North County. Gov. Jay Inslee still has to sign the bill before the appropriations are official.

The two largest sums of money were for Clark County’s two colleges. Clark College is slated for more than $53 million for its Boschma Farms campus set to be built on Ridgefield’s east side. The campus has been in development for several years, with the funding in this year’s capital budget going toward the construction of the first 70,000-square-foot building which will serve as an advanced manufacturing center for the college.

Washington State University Vancouver has been approved for nearly the same amount in this year’s capital budget, with $52.6 million going toward a life sciences building on the Salmon Creek campus. 

According to a project description from WSU Vancouver, the building would be 60,000-square-feet and would integrate current teaching and research labs into one location, while also offering new labs for neuroscience, molecular biology and nursing research. The building is scheduled to be completed in summer 2023, according to WSU Vancouver Capital Planning and Development. 

Apart from the Boschma Farms funding, Ridgefield has several other projects that will receive money from the capital budget. The Port of Ridgefield’s IT3 Discover Center received $1.35 million in state funds. The project, according to the port, will become a hi-tech learning and collaborative center for local businesses.

Other projects in Ridgefield funded this year include $339,000 for the Ridgefield Early Learning Center, $335,000 for a pedestrian screen on the Interstate 5 overpass, and $258,000 toward a YMCA facility.

La Center was approved funding for two projects. It received more than $1.2 million for improvements to La Center City Hall, and $515,000 for repairs and improvements to the La Center Community Center. East of the city, close to $1.2 million was approved for improvements on Northeast 102nd Avenue where it crosses Mason Creek in order to allow for fish passage, funded out of the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board.

A municipal and a nonprofit project in Battle Ground are also among the appropriations this year. The city will receive $2.05 million for a planned pump station on Northeast 92nd Avenue. According to city council documents detailing the project’s scope of work, the station will initially serve new development in the city’s northwest quadrant, though long-term planning shows it replacing a handful of older stations.

Battle Ground HealthCare also received $1 million for the relocation of its free clinic, currently located at the Center Point building on Northeast 189th Street.

In Woodland, Fort Vancouver Regional Library District received $2 million for its ongoing project to build a new Woodland Community Library. Late last year architects submitted final renderings for the building’s conceptual design, which is planned for Lakeshore Drive, according to library district information.

Woodland’s Scott Hill Park also received funding, with $600,000 going toward the project. Currently in its first phase, once complete the park will have multiple athletics fields and support buildings to allow for sports competitions on the site, according to the project website.

Larch Corrections Center in East Clark County also is included in this year’s budget, receiving $1.3 million for a boiler replacement at the facility. Last year Larch announced it had received $250,000 in funding to replace its fossil fuel boilers with a system that runs on biomass in an effort to both upgrade efficiency and increase sustainability.

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