CWU News

CWU Board of Trustees approves construction budget priorities

Health Sciences building tops the list

Today the CWU Board of Trustees approved a 10-year construction and maintenance project plan and state capital budget-request priorities for the 2017-19 biennium. A new health sciences building tops the list.

CWU President James L. Gaudino said the list reflects institutional priorities for safety, efficiency, and high-demand programs in the fields of health, social sciences, and aviation.

CWU will provide a formal request to the state Office of Financial Management for $44.4 million to build a facility for the growing Department of Health Sciences, which includes Public Health programs and the former department of Nutrition, Exercise and Health Sciences.

In fall 2008 there were 360 health sciences majors. In fall 2015 there were 538 majors — a 50 percent increase in seven years. With the addition of the Public Health programs, the Health Sciences department will approach nearly 700 majors this summer. Current facilities are inadequate or non-existent. In some cases, professors arrange classes in the evenings in order to get access to equipment.

A new Health Sciences building will replace the 50-year-old Hertz Hall, which has significant structural and systems deficiencies. The new facility will complete the “science neighborhood,” where CWU will open a new geology and physics building (Science II) this year and construct a computational sciences facility (Samuelson STEM) over the next two years.

This fall, CWU will submit formal funding requests to the state for consideration during the 2017 legislative session. In addition to the Health Sciences building, other major priorities are:

  • Energy systems efficiency: $15 million to replace the 43-year-old conventional boilers with a gas-fired, combined heat and power plant.
  • Communication security: $2.7 million to increase the security and efficiency of the campus phone system. The upgrade to Voice-over Internet Protocol (VOIP) also will provide audio communications over network bandwidth with new features such as visual media and data.
  • Aviation degree production: $9.9 million to construct hangar and classroom space in addition to the existing facilities at the flight operations training center at Bowers Field Airport.
  • Farrell Hall renovation: $3.9 million to design a renovation of the 40-year-old facility, which contains outdated electrical and mechanical systems and is generally uninsulated.  
  • Randall-Michaelsen renovation: $7.9 million to upgrade the 1960s-era academic facilities, which do not comply with state and federal requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act, and contain original ventilation and heating systems.
  • Lind phase 2: $9.2 million to augment a 2015-2017 appropriation that addressed ADA issues (elevator), insulation and stability, and safety needs. The new funding request would renovate existing space and systems in order to support new program needs in the building.
  • Bouillon phase 2: $9.6 million to augment a 2015-2017 appropriation that addresses ADA issues (elevator), insulation and stability, and safety needs. The new funding request will renovate existing space and systems in order to support new program needs in the building.
  • Brooks Library renovation: $9.9 million to update outdated mechanical and electrical systems, and upgrade insulation and stability features. Brooks Library, constructed in 1973, has old and inefficient heating and cooling systems.
  • Psychology renovation: $300,000 for predesign funding is being requested to upgrade the 44-year old Psychology Building, which has never been renovated. All of the existing mechanical and electrical systems have reached or exceeded their expected life span and must be replaced. Classrooms need to be modified to increase capacity for this high-demand program.

Construction projects at CWU create revenue for governments in Kittitas County. The $41 million Samuelson STEM project, which began this week, is expected to generate $800,000 in sales tax and $332,000 in building permit fees just for the city of Ellensburg. The university also contracts for goods and services with more than 300 Kittitas and Yakima county vendors.

Media contact: Barb Arnott, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-2841,

May 20, 2016