RIDGEFIELD — Officials from local Vancouver engineering firm MacKay Sposito, along with representatives from Clark College, presented the final master plan for the college’s north Clark County campus, Clark College at Boschma Farms, at a public meeting held at the Ridgefield Community Center Monday night.
Bob Williamson, vice president of Administrative Services at Clark College and co-chair of the visioning task force who have been working on this plan since March, started off Monday night’s presentation by recognizing the Clark College Foundation for acquiring the land that will be home to the new campus.
“It’s rare in the history of any college to be given a blank piece of paper like this,” Williamson said.
The new campus site, which is named after Hank and Bernice Boschma who donated their dairy farm land to the college for the campus, is made up of 70 acres and is located just northeast of Interstate 5. The land came from the Clark College Foundation receiving two land gifts in 2014 — the 60 acres of land donated by the Boschma family, a $3.12 million value, and a $731,549 gift of land from Ridgefield East 1 Associates, LLC. The additional 10 acres obtained through the Foundation’s partnership with Ridgefield East 1 Associates, LLC is adjacent to the Boschma tract and east end of I-5/SR-501 Interchange, serving as a gateway to the new facility.
According to the Clark College website, Hank and Bernice Boschma, originally from Holland, settled in Ridgefield in 1965 and purchased land to start a dairy farm. While living there, they each took a citizenship course at Clark College in order to prepare for the national exam. Years later, their daughter, Gerry, also attended Clark. The family made the decision to donate the land in 2014, seeking to help expand educational opportunities in the region.
With construction slated to begin on the first building of the north county campus as early as 2019, the overall project is currently broken into six phases that cover from 2019 to 2059. The goal would to be to open the first 70,000-square-foot building to students as early as 2021.
“We put a lot of energy and work into this master plan,” said Bryan Cole, vice president of Landscape Architecture and Planning at MacKay Sposito. “We developed a lot of community partnerships. Campuses like these, with this kind of development, you really do need those partnerships.”
The first phase of the project would also include a primary access road to the campus and construction of the first parking lot. Upon full build out of the campus in approximately 2059, the campus core will include six buildings for a total of 420,000 square feet; development of flexible open space; integration of art on campus; flexible performance and event space; preservation of views; opportunities for green roofs; living buildings; and community destination.
During the presentation, Cole also addressed the use of green space on the campus. The utilization of green space will include integrated stormwater management; stream restoration and management of downstream flooding; restoration of Allen and McCormick creeks; creation of wildlife habitat corridors; rehabilitation of existing wetlands and forest; connecting regional path systems; opportunities for learning and recreation; and partnerships with state and federal agencies.
The green space on the campus will also lend itself to environmental and agricultural sciences, providing opportunities for stream restoration; food to table; experimental test plots; student-run greenhouses; sustainable agriculture practices; environmental presentation; and outdoor classrooms/labs.
Monday night’s meeting was the final meeting of three that were held over the past couple of months in order to present the master plan to the public. Another meeting was previous held at Corwin in Ridgefield, and one was also held in Battle Ground. One of the goals of holding several meetings presenting the master plan was so the engineers could receive feedback from community members and stakeholders about they like or don’t like about the plan.
“The main things we’ve heard from people are reinforcing the need for trails, the need for community space, integration of heritage and art at the campus, things like that,” Cole said.
“The community is very interested rather than agnostic about it,” said Tim Schauer, president at MacKay Sposito. “They want it to be something that is a community asset. It’s not going to be just a campus that if you live here you drive around it.”
Engineers have also taken into account what types of commercial development will be adjacent to the new campus. A regional business center could include a mix of businesses and office uses that serve regional markets and other significant employment opportunities, according to Cole’s presentation. Some examples of complementary retail that could potentially be around the campus include childcare, grocery/market, restaurant, book and supply store, laundromat, salon, bank, coffee shop, pharmacy and others.
The final master plan presentation in its entirety can be viewed at http://www.clark.edu/about/visitors-guide/locations/boschma/ridgefield-open-house.pdf.