EvCC Looks to the Future with Baker Hall


Rick Sinnett

Baker Hall. Constructed in 1962.

Friday, Nov. 6, EvCC staff discussed the future of Baker Hall during a pre-build meeting with architect Ross Whitehead of Schreiber Starling Whitehead Architects, Pat Sisneros (Vice President of College Services), and the faculty pre-design team: Beth Peterson (Arts and Learning Resources), Ryan Masinelli (Business and Applied Technology Division and Computer Information Systems, or, CIS) and Kimberly Lothyan (Business and Applied Technology Division and Business Administration Department). 

Over the decades since Baker Hall’s construction in 1962, the needs of EvCC students have outpaced the abilities of the venerable building. But Baker Hall isn’t done for; EvCC has made a $31.16 million capital budget request to construct a building across Broadway on the K parking lot’s footprint.

Discussions for the rebuild were done in three sessions, beginning with the business departments and followed by the theater and music departments and, finally, CIS. These sessions are meant to confirm features EvCC needs and wants for the building and consider aspects like noise, office locations and department logistics, such as how to move a piano. 

A rough idea of where the future LRC and Baker Hall will be located. Official images are anticipated to be available by the end of January. (Rick Sinnett)

There is no concrete floor plan yet; there is still debate about the shape of the footprint, an “L” shape, or “dog leg”. Pat Sisneros, Vice President of College Services, said, “We will share the pre-design sketches with the campus after the study is completed, likely in late January.”

The key topics for most students are sound, technology, parking, and the new theater. 


As with the shape of the building’s footprint, there is still debate about what technology to use. The building is projected to be completed in six to eight years, which means the technology available now will most likely be very different when the building is ready.

The fact that many students bring their laptops was raised when discussing the number of computers in classrooms. There is a concern for a laptop keyboard’s durability in typing and ten-key heavy classes, as most portable keyboards are not as rugged as their desktop counterparts.


Although Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries as the backing track to a math lecture is funny, it loses its charm quickly. If it’s not the sound of music wafting through the air, it’s a cacophony of voices as the drama department practices for a performance.

Noise levels were a concern brought up by all departments. Many methods were discussed to control sound, such as soundproofing, class locations in relation to the subjects taught, flooring and floor plans. The possibility of having music courses on the second floor was also discussed, but the logistics of moving a piano to the second floor became the hurdle. Rick Waldron of the music department provided the solution; remove the legs when transporting it. 

Black Box Theater:

Also, on the docket was a new black box theater. Despite the intimidating name, it’s not something from a horror story. Beth Peterson, head of EvCC’s drama department, explains,  “A black box is a flexible space where the set up can change depending on the production. It gives a lot more freedom and flexibility to those who use it.  But I think the biggest impact is going to be having a building that was designed as a performance space. This will be huge in regard to sound quality and accessibility.”

You may wonder how something described as a box is an improvement, but Peterson described the challenges with their current stage. Peterson explained, “Currently, we do not have a control booth, and we have to set up in the audience, which is not ideal.  We also do not have an entrance to the backstage, and the amount of room for storage of set and actor movement is sparse.  There are also no dressing rooms or green rooms, so the space is very difficult for the performers or lecturers to prepare for the presentation.”

Access and Parking:

Students at the new site will have easy access to the new LRC as the two will be connected, proving helpful during bad weather.

As mentioned, the new Baker Hall will be constructed on the footprint of parking lot K. When asked about parking -a heated topic with students- Pat Sisneros said, “The College will likely acquire property for additional parking as well as continue to offer programs to promote alternative transportation methods to the College such as taking the bus and carpooling.”

Although my question of where the school would acquire land for parking went unanswered, this article from Heraldnet.com’s Jerry Cornfield may provide insight to that question. 

The Future:

As the student body grows, so will the campus; this is an inevitable fact. With its student-first mindset, EvCC continues to look to the future of education for the Everett area and students abroad.

Future music, drama, business and computer science students will enjoy a modernized Baker Hall in about six to eight years. (Rick Sinnett)