New college fisheries building in Bellingham nets two awards

OLYMPIA — The Perry Center for Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, a new academic building at Bellingham Technical College (BTC), recently won a Distinguished Project award given by the Northwest Construction Consumer Council. The award was for public projects with budgets of less than $10 million.

This is the second award for the Perry Center project. The Northwest Chapter of the American Institute of Architects selected it for a 2013 Sustainability Award.

The project was managed by the Washington Department of Enterprise Services. The total cost for the project was $4.5 million, with $2.4 million appropriated by the Legislature and private donations and local college funds covering the rest.

The project replaced a deteriorating 1940s-era former wastewater treatment plant with a modern classroom building used by the college's Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences program. The Perry Center, completed in September 2013, includes a fish hatchery and is located at Maritime Heritage Park in Bellingham. The college leases the building site from the city of Bellingham.

The 8,000-square-foot building includes classroom space and features both dry and wet laboratories, a shellfish lab and offices, and a locker room.

"It took collaboration, creativity and flexibility by the project team and our staff to overcome the many challenges," says Patricia McKeown, BTC President. "This facility will be a wonderful education resource for students and the community for generations to come."

Originally built in 1947 on top of a landfill, the wastewater treatment plant was converted into a fish hatchery in 1978. BTC began using the treatment plant's powerhouse that year for its Fisheries Technology program. Over time, the aging building became untenable for use as a safe classroom.

The project team faced many technical, archeological and financial challenges during the two years it took to design and construct the building. Construction on top the landfill site unearthed many surprises including components of the previous sewage treatment plant and an unknown foundation. Initiated in 2006, the project had to go through multiple funding submittals and design reviews by the city of Bellingham before it was approved for construction.

The Perry Center was built to LEED silver standards, the third highest rating awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, the non-profit that runs the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design "green" building certification program.

"It just goes to show that you can achieve excellence at the silver level," says Marziah Kiehn, project manager for Enterprise Services. "You don't do these successful projects in a vacuum. We had a motivated client and a dedicated team."

The team included Roosendaal Honcoop Construction, a general contractor based in Bellingham, HKP Architects, which has an office in Mount Vernon.

The Northwest Construction Consumer Council is a non-profit educational forum for public and private building owners with capital construction programs to learn best practices in project delivery.

The Perry Center is just one of nearly 800 design and construction projects that Enterprise Services will manage in the two-year period ending in June 2015. These projects are valued at more than $580 million.

About Bellingham Technical College:

Bellingham Technical College (BTC) is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and offers seven direct transfer degrees such as pre-engineering, pre-nursing, electronics, mechanical engineering and technology and business. Completion of these degrees prepares BTC students to transfer with a junior status to participating colleges and universities in Washington State. BTC offers 37 associate degree and 45 certificate options providing professional technical education to support local and regional industry workforce needs. For more information, go to


Marni Saling Mayer, Director of Communications
Bellingham Technical College
(360) 752-8325,

Jim Erskine, DES Communications
(360) 407-9212,