As Everett looks for a design firm to help it decide what to do with 100 acres along the Snohomish River, some students already have been...

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As Everett looks for a design firm to help it decide what to do with 100 acres along the Snohomish River, some students already have been thinking about what could be built there.

Their vision looks something like Seattle’s Pike Place Market.

“These students took this thing, and it’s amazing how it fits together,” said Gene Fosheim, an instructor in engineering graphics at Lake Washington Technical College in Kirkland.

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Fosheim, who has taught at the college for 22 years, lives in Everett and takes a total-immersion approach to history, working with local historical groups. Fosheim’s father worked in a mill on the riverfront property, and he grew up not far from the acreage the city owns along its eastern edge, an area that once also was the site of a landfill.

Now there’s a trail along the river, but the area is mostly grass and weeds surrounded by small businesses.

Yet the city sees it as one of the most appealing parcels along the Interstate 5 corridor and says there’s virtually no similar land that is just a few hundred feet from a freeway, in a major metropolitan area, with mountain views and a waterfront, and available for development.

For Fosheim, it seemed like an ideal exercise for his students.

“All I did was sort of plant the seed,” he said.

So Brian Dukes, Jenny Graf and Lynda Vernon, students in his theory-of-architecture class, took a look at the property and for a class project, thought about what could be done with it.

Some of the nation’s largest development firms submitted statements of qualifications to the city last week, and the chosen company is expected to spend months looking into economics and demographics before coming up with proposals.

Statements were turned in by Oliver/McMillan of San Diego, Chinook Pacific of Mukilteo, Forest City Development of Los Angeles, Opus Northwest of Bellevue, McCaffery of Chicago, Barclays North of Everett and Triple Five Pacific Northwest of Bellevue.

The three students thought about what had been at the site and what could be there.

“I just remember going to the Market,” said Vernon, referring to Pike Place. “Why not make something closer by like that?”

The area’s history provided some of the students’ ideas.

“It would be a place where tourists could go,” Vernon said. “It would remind you of the old days.”

“You could put condos so people could live where they shop,” Dukes said.

“Live, work, shop,” Fosheim interjected, summing up how activities can be combined in a single locale, building community and avoiding drawbacks such as long commutes and high transportation-construction costs.

The students looked at pictures of century-old logging mills and shipping, and incorporated some of those elements into their plan. A model of their plan includes a building that would be three- or four-stories tall with an atrium in the center and a roofline that extends to open-air areas along the edges, reminiscent of the Market.

“The center of the building would be open and make it feel like it’s in a forest,” Dukes said.

Another element would be something from the past: an oversize imitation of a wigwam burner, or a burn stack. Thousands of them were once used to burn waste at sawmills throughout the Northwest, but they disappeared along with many mills.

The burn stack would be about five stories, with a viewing point on the top, and shops and other attractions on the lower levels.

In a paper submitted with the model, the students said their concepts could improve on the originals.

“A significant problem at the Pike Place Market is that it’s difficult to go to and has inadequate parking,” they wrote. “Our location is close to major transportation routes and close to town.”

Regardless of whether such elements as history and a tourist market are incorporated in the final development of the area, the students said the exercise gave them an opportunity to apply tools they are learning.

Peyton Whitely: 206-464-2259