Maintaining campus facilities is a big, and sometimes costly, proposition for any university system; yet there are market and student demands on keeping campuses up to date. Washington State University is undertaking major construction projects in 2020 across the university system.
The biggest project is the $66 million Plant Sciences Building in Pullman. Officials broke ground on the facility in 2018, but there was a decision early on to save money; the top two floors were left as shells, and officials planned to have crews return later to finish the space.
The WSU Board of Regents voted in October to complete work on the building’s top two floors. Stacy Pearson, vice president for finance and administration, said after the October decision, “We think now is the right time to finish this project — while crews are on-site — rather than bringing them back and incurring additional expenses.”
The university plants to spend $7.5 million to finish the top two floors by October, adding valuable office space to the Pullman campus.
Outside of Pullman, the most significant project is the Academic Building at WSU Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco and Richland). Work began on the 40,000-square-foot project in November, with working continuing until early 2021. The new site will bring two new 96-seat active learning classroom spaces to the Tri-Cities campus in Richland, plus new labs for physics, biology and chemistry work.
Other Pullman campus construction
Another holdover from 2019 is the Cougar Baseball Facility Project: BTO (Back to Omaha [Neb.], where the college baseball World Series is held annually). The new $10 million clubhouse facility and entrance to Bailey-Brayton Field in Pullman is funded through donor support, and construction is expected to wrap up in time for the 2021 season.
The new facility features a 1,300-square-foot locker room, a 1,500-square-foot weight and cardio room, academic and team meeting spaces, and space to recognize Cougar baseball history.
Construction of the second phase of WSU’s Global Animal Health Building project on the Pullman campus will continue throughout 2020. The new home of the Paul H. Allen School for Global Animal Health Disease detection and surveillance program will open in early 2021.
Later this summer, WSU expects to complete the College of Veterinary Medicine’s elk hoof disease research facility on the Pullman campus. The state-of-the-art facility will house the captive elk needed to study the disease in a secure, controlled environment. The first elk acquired by WSU for its elk hoof disease research program — Elk S19, otherwise known as Salix — arrived late last year.
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