CWU News

Public Welcome for CWU Science Phase II Groundbreaking

Groundbreaking for Central Washington University’s new Science Phase II construction is May 1 during a ceremony on the Ellensburg campus. The hour-long event, which is open to the public, is at 4:00 p.m. in the Hertz Hall parking lot, which is the site for the new building. RSVP by April 25 to 509-963-2147.

The $64 million facility will become the new home for the university’s geological sciences and physics departments.

“These are two of our high-demand science programs, so those students and faculty have something exciting to look forward to,” says CWU President James L. Gaudino.

The new facility, which is expected to open for fall quarter 2016, will include the Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education, which supports and promotes interdisciplinary science and math teaching and research.

Those programs are located across campus in different campus buildings. Space became so tight in Lind Hall that enrollment for physics had to be capped.

The project will feature an 80-seat lecture hall and planetarium, an observatory tower, and several specialty labs, such as optics and laser labs, an ice core lab, and an acoustic lab with an anechoic chamber—a specially designed room which completely absorbs either sound or electromagnetic wave reflections.

Science Phase II will become part of a university science neighborhood that includes Science Phase 1, opened in 1998, and the remodeled Dean Hall, which reopened in 2009.

Lydig Construction Inc., of Spokane, recently was awarded the construction contract for Science Phase II.

“The construction will provide a boost to the local economy,” Gaudino added. “It’s expected to generate $1.2 million in fees alone for the city (of Ellensburg).”

The project is expected to create about 200 construction jobs and produce millions of dollars in sales tax revenue. In addition to construction funds, which were allocated by the state Legislature, an additional $6.2 million was earmarked to connect the facility to campus utilities.

This connection will heat the 120,000-square-foot building with waste heat and without increasing CWU’s gas energy consumption.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,