CWU News

Science II Grand Opening Celebration October 13

Central Washington University unveils a new $64 million science facility that boasts a planetarium, observatory tower, scanning electron microscope, and specialty labs, including a chamber that completely absorbs all sound, during the grand opening of the new Science II building on Thursday, October 13.

A public ribbon-cutting ceremony for the state-of-the-art science center is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the building’s north entrance (adjacent to the Japanese Garden). The event will be hosted by CWU President James L. Gaudino and College of the Sciences Dean Tim Englund.

Tours of the building, which is the new home for the university’s geological sciences and physics departments, will be held from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., following the celebration, and on Saturday morning, 11:00-noon, October 15.

“The addition of the Science II building puts Central in the forefront of science education in the state of Washington,” Gaudino said. “These are two of our highest-demand science programs, so those students and faculty now have an advanced facility in which to research, study and work.”

The new facility also includes the Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education, which supports and promotes interdisciplinary science and math teaching and research.

“The completion of Science II consolidates programs that have been scattered in buildings across the campus,” Englund noted. “Uniting these programs in a single, modern facility with state-of-the-art equipment allows for greater collaboration among our students and faculty.”

The building features 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 absorbs either sound or electromagnetic wave reflections. The building also houses CWU’s new $600K scanning electron microscope.

Additionally, the building features a number of signature touches. For example, the massive rocks in the landscaping around the building were chosen by members of the geology faculty. On the roof, there are telescope platforms where astronomy students can study the stars. Geological Sciences has dedicated space for storing mineral specimens. And the advanced technology infrastructure provides unprecedented bandwidth and computing capacity.

Science Phase II further anchors the university science neighborhood that includes Science Phase 1, opened in 1998, and the remodeled Dean Hall, which reopened in 2009. Construction has also begun on the Samuelson STEM project, a $64.5 million integrated computer science technology center that will house the departments of computer science, mathematics and information technology and administrative management (ITAM). It is expected to be completed in fall 2018.

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,
October 13, 2016