The state legislature has approved and the governor is expected to sign a two-year construction budget that funds a $61 million science facility at Central Washington University. The budget also includes about $6 million for infrastructure required to connect the facility to university information, power, and other utilities.
"This is the culmination of a community-wide effort," said CWU President James L. Gaudino, noting the project drew support from local business and education leaders, the City of Ellensburg, alumni, residents, and current and retired faculty and staff. "I can't say enough about the teamwork that made this project happen after all these years."
Gaudino reserved special praise for regional lawmakers who made the project a priority. He acknowledged several lawmakers who were instrumental in landing the huge project, including Senators Janéa Holmquist Newbry, from Moses Lake, and Jim Honeyford, Sunnyside, the lead for the capital budget in the Senate. Gaudino also thanked 13th District Representatives Matt Manweller, Ellensburg, and Judy Warnick, Moses Lake.
As ranking member on the House Capital Budget Committee, Warnick worked closely with the committee chair, Rep. Hans Dunshee, Snohomish. Gaudino said their support was essential for securing funding for Science Phase II, which is anticipated to generate millions in sales taxes and permitting fees for local government.
Science Phase II completes a project conceived and launched more than 15 years ago. Science Phase I was completed in 1999. Science Phase II received pre-design funding in the 2009-11 state construction budget and design in the 2011-13 appropriation. The new facility, expected to open by January 2015, will house three high-demand programs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM): the Department of Physics, the Department of Geological Sciences, and the Center for Excellence in Science and Math Education.
Science Phase II will provide modern classroom and laboratory space in a single facility, according to Kirk Johnson, dean of the College of the Sciences.
"STEM programs now are located in some of the oldest, least technologically current buildings on campus," said Johnson, pointing out that Lind Hall was built in 1948 and Hebeler Hall in 1938. "Science II adds capacity for the modern classroom and laboratory space required to increase degree opportunities in engineering, physics, and geological sciences, and to produce more K-12 teachers in STEM fields."
Science II will be built in the parking lot adjacent to the Japanese Garden on the Ellensburg campus. It will join Science I and Dean Halls in the southwest quadrant, known as the "Science Neighborhood." Parking capacity will be replaced on the north end of campus near the Brooks Library.
The first step in the construction process is finalizing drawings, specifications, and the project timeline, and beginning the process required by the State Environmental Policy Act. The university expects to award a contract for construction by January 2014.
The capital budget also allocates $7 million to CWU for building preservation to address more than 40 projects, and $2.4 million for preventive maintenance.
Media contact: Linda Schactler, executive director, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1384, firstname.lastname@example.org
July 1, 2013
Artist rendering, by Integrus Architecture, of the Science Phase II north entry