CWU News

Demolished CWU building to help chimps in Pacific Northwest

ELLENSBURG, Wash. - Central Washington University is in the throng of demolition at its Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute building.

Former CWU student J.B. Mulcahy said the process is bitter sweet.

“We actually helped to build some of these platforms,” he said, pointing to a tower of wooden frames. 

Mulcahy is now an instructor with CWU’s primate program and the director of the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum. 

While he said it is sad to see the old building go, he is confident the ultimate result will benefit everyone.

Until 2013, the facility housed several chimpanzees in a maze of indoor-to-outdoor enclosures. The final two chimpanzees were eventually transferred to a sanctuary in Canada.

Now, as construction crews dismantle the vacant structure, they’re saving parts of the enclosure to send to the sanctuary in Cle Elum.

“So instead of all of these materials just going into a landfill somewhere, all of the stuff can be repurposed and reused to make lives better for some primates in the near future,” director of the CWU primate program Dr. Lori Sheeran said.

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