Bellevue College president, advocate for Issaquah campus, resigns

May 23, 2011

NEW — 11:15 a.m. May 23, 2011

Jean Floten

Bellevue College President Jean Floten, a strong advocate for adding a college campus to the Issaquah Highlands, is resigning from the institution to serve as chancellor of WGU Washington, the state’s online university.

Floten arrived at Bellevue College in 1989 and helped build the Eastside institution into a college serving about 39,000 students each year. Only the University of Washington and Washington State University outrank Bellevue College in size.

“Having the honor of serving as president of Bellevue College for over two decades has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” she said in a statement.

Bellevue College announced the resignation Monday.

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Blast off into outer space — without ever leaving the Eastside

February 15, 2011

A viewing audience reclines in theater seats to view the Milky Way galaxy projected on the Willard Geer Planetarium dome at Bellevue College. By Greg Farrar

Bellevue College offers excursions into the cosmos from the comfort of a planetarium seat

There are a thousand ways Armageddon could destroy life on earth, and all without the help of aliens.

During its 220-million-year rotation around the Milky Way, our sun could pass through a giant dust cloud, blocking the sun’s rays to earth and triggering an ice age that could last thousands of years. Or, a nearby star could die in a supernova explosion. Its energy could burn a hole in the ozone layer, exposing us to the sun’s radiation — rays that would fry everything in their path.

Both of these and more are covered in “Violent Universe, Catastrophes of the Cosmo,” narrated by Patrick Stewart — a movie that literally surrounds the viewer at Bellevue College’s Willard Geer Planetarium.

The college has much to brag about when it comes to its planetarium. Former physics instructor Willard Geer, who helped invent the color TV, provided the impetus for starting the planetarium during his years at the school, from 1968-75.

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Bellevue College is closer to highlands land purchase

February 8, 2011

Bellevue College is poised to complete the purchase of land for a proposed Issaquah Highlands campus by the end of the month.

College President Jean Floten said the institution signed a purchase-and-sale agreement to buy 20 acres from highlands developer Port Blakely Communities.

The agreement contains some routine contingencies — such as the college agreeing to the architectural standards for the highlands — and must undergo review from the state Department of General Administration, because the college is a state agency.

The final contingencies should be removed before the month ends. The process is not expected to cause problems, college spokesman Bob Adams said.

The transaction is part of a complicated transfer of development rights to preserve forested land on Tiger Mountain near Issaquah High School and open additional highlands land for construction.

The city solicited proposals last October from potential buyers for the parcels. Candidates received bonus points for including affordable housing and public spaces in the proposals.

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Bellevue College president sketches bold vision for Issaquah campus

January 4, 2011

Hurdles remain before construction can start in Issaquah Highlands

Jean Floten

The formula for the Issaquah Highlands remains, for the most part, unchanged since residents settled in the community a dozen years ago: homes built almost eave-to-eave on tree-lined streets, even as plans for offices and retail offerings sputtered.

Bellevue College could juice up the long-established formula, or so community leaders hope.

The college campus proposed for the highlands could someday serve as a learning center for groups as assorted as school-aged children and retirees, a gathering spot for cultural festivals and fuel for the economy — if Bellevue College opts to transform a forested parcel near Central Park into a satellite campus.

College President Jean Floten started to consider the possibility more than a decade ago, as the population boomed on the Eastside.

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Bellevue College eyes Issaquah Highlands for campus

August 31, 2010

Bellevue College is interested in buying 20 acres in the Issaquah Highlands for a potential extension campus, the college president announced last week — days after the City Council opened the land under consideration to denser development.

The announcement kicks off a comprehensive review by Bellevue College leaders. The college — the third-largest educational institution in the state — intends to determine how the site could suit long-term needs.

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Bellevue College declares interest in opening Issaquah Highlands campus

August 24, 2010

UPDATED — 6:30 p.m. Aug. 24, 2010

Bellevue College is interested in buying 20 acres in the Issaquah Highlands for a potential extension campus, the college president announced Tuesday — a week after the City Council opened the land under consideration to denser development.

The announcement kicks off a comprehensive review by Bellevue College leaders. The college — the third-largest educational institution in the state — intends to determine how the site could meet its long-term needs.

“Our main campus is reaching the limit of how much we can expand our classroom space,” college President Jean Floten said in a statement. “If we don’t take action now, we could easily end up boxed in by our own property boundaries, not to mention the growing traffic congestion all around us. We need to be able to keep expanding with the community.”

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