VANCOUVER, Wash. — Construction has started on a $16.3-million multimedia classroom building on the Washington State University Vancouver campus. The Washington Legislature approved funding for the building’s construction in late June. Construction trucks moved onto the site the first week of July.

In just one month, workers started on a driveway and walkway from the south parking lot, excavated the site and poured the foundation and basement walls. Set to open spring 2003, the 49,000-square-foot building will provide much-needed classroom, lab, office and study space for a growing campus community.

The building contains 12 classrooms, 33 offices, two open computing labs, a darkroom, a multimedia processing room and student study areas. Exterior finishes will use brick and glass similar to the engineering life sciences building that opened last January. All classrooms will contain complete multimedia systems, and wiring will be visible, displayed in a safe and artistic fashion from the ceilings to the computer stations.

“This building is designed to demystify technology for social science and humanities students,” said Leslie Wykoff, chair of the building’s programming committee. “Students will have the opportunity to come to terms with computers and the fact that they’re tools we have to work with.”

Although liberal-arts focused, the building will support higher-end, higher-tech programs such as electronic media and culture and management information systems.

Baugh Construction Oregon of Beaverton serves as general contractor, and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership of Portland designed the building with input from a campus-wide committee.