The University of Washington yesterday announced its leading candidate for a North Campus: downtown Everett. Immediately the dominoes began to tumble in this high-stakes game for a new branch campus. At stake: Will Everett become a new economic power center in central Puget Sound? Will UW phase way back its Bothell campus? Will the UW be the loser as the Legislature snatches lightbulbs, stealing from UW funds to build the 5,000-person campus in Everett? Will congestion issues for the Everett location, made worse by failure of Proposition 1, hamper that site? And will the whole idea be shelved, given a stalling economy and the UW's clout in protecting its home base? One thing to keep in mind in following the tumbling dominoes is that the UW has never really liked the idea of these branch campuses. It got into the expansion-league game in order to make more friends in the Legislature, adding outlying politicians to its lobbying team. But it doesn't want the costs of building these campuses to deflect money from building up the central research university, so it keeps expectations low in the branches. Enrollment at UW Bothell and UW Tacoma is a modest 2,000 at each campus. WSU has branch campuses too (Tri-Cities and Vancouver), and is much more enthusiastic about its colonizing efforts. Additionally, the Bothell campus, now facing branch-of-branch status, was a compromise between building a new UW branch on the Eastside, where Bellevue Community College opposed having such a close competitor, and Everett, which was deemed not ready. So the planners split the difference and put UW Bothell in the fairly out-of-the-way location, where it is completely a commuter school. One outcome of the dominoes, then, could be letting BCC develop into a proper four-year college, having Bothell wither on the vine, and putting lots of chips on Everett. (Not easy, given the mere 32 acres of the site.) Update Jean Floten, former president of Bellevue Community College, sends in this perspective on the Eastside location of UW - Bothell: I appreciated your article "UW picks Everett for a new campus, and the dominoes start tumbling." You mentioned some of the history that prompted the UW branch campus to be built at Bothell. One of the reasons you cited was objection from Bellevue Community College (BCC) in "having so close a competitor." I was president of BCC during that time and have no recollection of the BCC Board of Trustees or college staff objecting to having the University of Washington in the district served by our college. In fact, we would have welcomed them. The UW branch campus offers upper division course work that complements our students' work in a 2+2 arrangement (first two years at BCC and last two years at the UW Bothell). We are collaborators in our students' education. What I do remember about the location choice was that the UW and SBCTC were looking for a parcel of property on which to locate both a new community college and a UW branch. Much of the decision on where to locate the campuses was based upon property considerations. An underlying issue in all this is the absence of a strong second-tier state college system, one step below the two research universities. A good example is the Cal-State system, which doesn't cost as much as top-tier universities but provides schools good enough to deflect some of the demand for the top schools. UW has sometimes favored such a solution, in part so that there is less pressure for increased admissions at the bulging UW campus in Seattle. One answer to this need for more Triple-A teams would be to greatly expand the numbers and offerings at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, founded in 1971 and originally planned for 25,000 students but still quite small at 4,125 students. The well-regarded alternative-education curriculum could be protected as a college within the larger university, though Greenies would probably fear being engulfed.