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Published: Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Everett Station celebrates 10 years and 17 million visits

  • Emilio Xhurape, who splits his time between Seattle and Alaska, walks down the steps in the Everett Station last week. The station is celebrating its ...

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Emilio Xhurape, who splits his time between Seattle and Alaska, walks down the steps in the Everett Station last week. The station is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month.

  • Renee Beck, of Mount Vernon, waits for a bus to Gold Bar outside Everett Station last week.

    Renee Beck, of Mount Vernon, waits for a bus to Gold Bar outside Everett Station last week.

EVERETT -- In 2001, Everett's main hub for buses was the parking garage at Hewitt and Hoyt avenues downtown.
There was a small customer service office inside the garage and the stops for Community Transit and Everett Transit buses were located on the sidewalks.
Amtrak trains stopped at a nondescript, beige building on Bond Street near the waterfront.
Greyhound and Northwest Trailways buses operated out of a building on Pacific and Colby avenues. Sound Transit's commuter rail trains were still two years away from running between Everett and Seattle.
The place that is now Everett Station was a collection of industrial buildings. Pacific Avenue was flat, with no bridge over the tracks, and drivers had to stop and wait for trains to pass.
Now, after people have made 17 million visits to Everett Station, the city is marking the building's 10th anniversary. A celebration is planned for Friday.
People no longer have to travel from one part of town to another to transfer between buses and trains. They can park their cars, with 975 spaces available, and ride public transportation to work. Buses from Island Transit and Skagit Transit stop at Everett Station as well.
"It's really an important transportation hub for the county," Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson said.
In addition to serving the transportation agencies, the four-story, 64,000-square foot building has seven meeting rooms available to the public, the Espresso Americano coffee shop and office space for WorkSource Washington, a career development agency.
"I think it's a wonderful facility, well located, convenient parking, and gorgeous views from the upper floors," said Pat Akins of Lake Stevens, who was visiting the WorkSource office on Monday.
Planning for the building began about 10 years before it was built, said Paul Kaftanski, who managed the construction project for Everett and is now the city's parks director.
In the early 1990s, the city was in line to receive some money for remodeling the Amtrak station on Bond Street.
There was growing advocacy, however, for providing a central place for bus-and-train connections, Kaftanski said. Sound Transit, then called the Regional Transit Authority, was in the embryonic stages of planning rail projects.
After a study in 1993, the city selected the site of the current station because it had a long straightaway track that would work for all the trains, he said.
Land and construction for the building cost $46.9 million, according to city figures. The city landed about $38 million in outside funding help, nearly $30 million of it coming from the federal government and more from Sound Transit and the state.
Sound Transit and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad added new tracks. Sound Transit pitched in another $17 million to build a bridge over the railroad tracks on Pacific Avenue to allow trains and automobiles to stay out of each others' way.
The station itself took about two years to build, Kaftanski said. It was originally designed for two stories, to resemble train stations from the early 20th century, he said.
Ed Hansen, mayor of Everett during the project's planning stages, visited Oakland where he saw that college classes were located at a transportation center and was inspired to duplicate that model here, according to Kaftanski.
The University Center of North Puget Sound -- a cooperative group of several colleges that provide space in Everett for students to take classes -- agreed to lease space in the transportation center.
"And so the two-story building became a three-story building," Kaftanski said.
Then WorkSource, drawn by the prospect of being able to help college students, expressed interest in the building as well. A fourth floor was added.
The University Center in 2010 moved to Everett Community College, but WorkSource remains, spread over the three upper floors, building manager Joan Olsen said.
The building also incorporates art. Two murals of logging scenes done by Northwest artist Kenneth Callahan formerly located in the Weyerhaeuser building in the city were restored and installed in a meeting room, called the Weyerhaeuser Room, on the fourth floor. The roof line of the room was designed to match the outline and size of the murals, Kaftanski said.
Other smaller murals by Callahan were installed in the open atrium part of the third floor. Large windows on the east wall of the floor-to-ceiling atrium let in natural light.
The floor has terrazzo inlays of Everett's waterways, and two-dimensional bronze inlays of ships in those waterways.
Several changes have taken place in the building's first 10 years.
In 2009, Sound Transit spent another $40 million to acquire a parking lot east of the building, across the railroad tracks, and build a footbridge to the station.
This lot added 432 spaces. Some on the west side were deducted when Community Transit added Swift bus service in 2008, said Steffani Lillie, spokeswoman for Everett Transit.
Kaftanski says he couldn't be more pleased with how the station turned out.
"I think it's a wonderful project, it did everything we wanted it to do," he said. "I think it's going to be a strong catalyst for development and redevelopment in the downtown Everett area."

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; sheets@heraldnet.com.

If you go
A celebration to mark the 10th anniversary of the completion of Everett Station is planned for 2:30 to 7 p.m. Friday at the station, 3201 Smith Ave.
The event includes guest speakers, an unveiling of Everett Station's new logo, entertainment by the local band 20 Riverside, and an appearance by members of the Washington Stealth cheerleading squad, the Bombshells.
For more information on Everett Station, go to: http://tinyurl.com/825q55p.

Story tags » EverettTransit

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