New SWIFT Center Model of Adaptive Reuse 

Author: Jim Darling Published: September 26, 2018

The SWIFT (Sedro-Woolley Innovation for Tomorrow) Center in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, is a portal from the past into the future, and a model for how underutilized spaces can be reborn as thriving community assets.

The SWIFT Center, in Northwest Washington, located on the historic Northern State Hospital grounds, will soon be home to Janike Bioenergy, where an estimated 600 employees will work to solve the world’s wastewater problems through the research, design, and construction of transportable water treatment systems to treat human and agricultural waste.

Designed by Fredrick Olmsted (best known for designing the grounds of New York City’s Central Park) and built in 1911, the 600,000-square-foot Northern State Hospital campus served the state as a premier mental health facility, but its Spanish colonial style buildings fell into a state of disrepair largely because of irreversible funding challenges.

On June 28, 2018, ownership of the campus was officially transferred to the Port of Skagit by Governor Jay Inslee. The transfer marked the culmination of an award-winning planning effort that took four years, dozens of public meetings involving hundreds of participants, multiple state and federal agencies, and the consideration of at least six different development scenarios.

In the end, the success of this adaptive reuse initiative is the result of the cooperation, insight, and commitment of the Port of Skagit, the City of Sedro-Woolley, Skagit County, and the State departments of Enterprise Services and Ecology.

Maul Foster & Alongi is proud to have led the technical planning team and provided strategic advice on the Northern State Hospital project.

Congratulations to the Skagit and Sedro-Woolley communities on the new SWIFT Center!