UWT Students can soon ride a specially designed ski lift to and from classes on campus.
In an effort to alleviate the uphill burden of the UWT Urban campus, the Summit at Snoqualmie has partnered with UWT for the LiftMeUp project. Slated to begin April 1, 2023, the LiftMeUp project is a five-year plan to install ski lifts along all major UWT campus byways. The ski lifts are intended to transport students to courses, clubs and other on-campus activities during campus operating hours. The project is the first collaboration between the Summit at Snoqualmie and UWT.
“The ski lift cars are designed to be mostly weatherproof, accommodating all weather conditions outside of rain, snow and hail,” said Kanya Diggit, Foreperson of Willitwerk Construction, the company in charge of the project, “Our research found these conditions are typical of the Pacific Northwest and most students are reasonably accustomed to traveling in them.”
In addition to the mostly weatherproof design, the ski lifts will be ADA-accessible and offer AM/FM radio dials, minimally cushioned seats, and refurbished seatbelts reclaimed from retired carnival rides.
“We wanted to bring a sense of nostalgia to the UWT campus project. Tacoma is a place that embodies the grunge and grind of the city. We wanted to encompass that feeling in the features we included within each lift car,” said Wylde R. Tist, lead designer for the UWT LiftMeUp project.
Keeping with the local nostalgia theme, Tist says the ski lift cars were designed with inspiration from the cabins on the Sky Ride, one of the Washington State Fair’s most iconic overhead rides.
“It’s basically the same thing (as the Sky Ride), just minus the windows, doors, and side paneling of the Sky Ride cars. We wanted the feeling of local familiarity, without the sense of being at the fair,” Jefferson said.
The LiftMeUp ski lifts will run in dual directions, north and south, along S. 17th St., S. 19th St., S. 21st St., and along the UWT grand staircase. The East to West lifts will run simultaneously along Prairie Line Trail, Gillenwater Plaza, and Commerce Plaza, Jefferson Ave., Market Street and C Street.
Diggit explained, though no additional lifts will be installed to accommodate students using the Whitney Building, a zipline, made of reused classroom materials, will be installed for students to use at their own discretion. The zipline will run in one direction, beginning at the corner of S. 19th St. and Fawcett Avenue, and ending at the top of the UWT grand staircase on Jefferson Avenue.
“Personally, I think the zip line and ski lift will add an element to school that most students haven’t felt since grade school. Not to be corny, but this project put the fun back into fundamental education,” said Amocat Peoples, UWT Senior who is majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Applied Computing.
Construction on the LiftMeUp project is set to begin April 1, 2023. To expedite the installation process, all aforementioned routes, in relation to UWT campus, will be shut down until completion of the installation. Construction for the LiftMeUp Project is projected to be completed in Winter of 2028.
During construction, all UWT courses will be temporarily relocated to the Seattle and Bothell campus, as space allows. After April 1, 2023, UWT students can find out their new course location by visiting the MyAcademics page on their UWT MyPlan account.