Planning for a Rainier Valley Early Learning Campus at Mt. Baker Light Rail

Mia TuanThe vision for this space is one of possibility: An inclusive and warm space, where children can grow and their families are supported, a space where educators can advance their skills, and the surrounding community can gather together. My hope for the UW College of Education is that we can be a strong partner to lift up families, care givers, educators, and future educators, in a state of the art space built specifically with the Mt. Baker neighborhood in mind." — Mia Tuan, dean of the UW College of Education

The University of Washington's College of Education has partnered with community to bring to life a vision for an early learning resource hub located at the Mt. Baker LINK station and serving the vibrant neighborhoods of the Rainier Valley. Since 2016, the College and our partners have dreamed a space shaped by community needs and community voice. We have worked together with partners from across the southeast Seattle area, the Mt. Baker neighborhood in particular, alongside educators and early learning professionals across our community.

Co-designed with Rainier Valley community members, the Rainier Valley Early Learning Campus (RVELC) addresses historical injustices in early learning by expanding access to affordable, high-quality childcare and preschool, centering anti-racist care and curricula, and providing tools, professional development and business supports to an industry led by practitioners of color. The RVELC will be a flagship workforce development and resource hub supporting early learning professionals locally and across the country.

Together, we envision a space that will serve families, educators, care providers, and aspiring educators from within our community.

The RVELC is built on years of organizing and designing together with community, and we commit to ongoing collaboration and shared leadership - please join us!

Fact Sheet

Project Timeline

Internal Exploration + Partnership Building

2019 – Spring 2020

The college early learning community gathered monthly to brainstorm, collaborate on current projects, develop a shared vision, and explore community interest.

A small workgroup was identified to manage logistics when the pandemic struck. Regular meetings took place with UW Real Estate, Seattle Office of Housing, UW Office of Regional and Community Relationships, Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning, and College advocates.

Logistic + Vision Launch

Summer 2020

During Summer 2020, a small workgroup developed concept papers, collaborated with the Seattle Office of Housing to coordinate upcoming community engagement.

Community Engagement

Fall 2020 + Spring 2021

  • In Fall 2020, an advisory group of community leaders and College stakeholders was convened. This advisory group met weekly to guide community engagement and overall project development
  • A community engagement team was brought on board to lead outreach.
  • A series of online listening sessions began across south King County. Individual discussions with community leaders and organizations were held and continue across the life of the project.

Collaborative Visioning

Summer 2021

  • Continued listening and identifying key partners for collaborative design.
  • Responded to the City's call for proposals within the overall site plan.

Next Steps


  • Close out RVELC start-up capital campaign by raising remaining $28 million.
  • Raise $7 million in start-up funds to support multi-disciplinary programming.

Community Input Summary

As part of this process, we connected with community organizations, parents, care providers and leaders across our community to hear about existing challenges and opportunities for early learning and childcare in the Mt. Baker neighborhood. 

By February 2021, we had engaged with over two dozen organizations who serve the Mt. Baker and larger south Seattle communities:

  • 129 family members of young children, community residents and organizational leaders
  • 374 electronic surveys from South Seattle residents
  • 34 South King County child-, family- and youth-serving organizations
  • 42 UW faculty, staff and students
  • 5 city and county offices
  • 8 city, county and state elected officials

About the Space

rainier valley early learning campus at mt. baker graphicThe City of Seattle plans to redevelop the 3.8 parcel of land adjacent to the Mt. Baker LINK light rail station as affordable housing units. To learn more about the City’s process and updates, you can visit this page.