SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington State University Spokane will hold an event from 8-9 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 25 to celebrate the initiation of construction of the Academic Center building and to thank community leaders for their support of the construction funding request.

The public is invited to the event. Because seating is limited, RSVP is requested to communications@wsu.edu or by phone at (509) 358-7540.

WSU President V. Lane Rawlins will speak at the event, highlighting new programs and initiatives, including the recently approved bachelor’s and doctoral degrees to be offered at WSU Spokane and the sleep research initiative being launched under the Spokane Alliance for Medical Research.

During the ceremony, representatives of the constituencies who came together in support of the building — including economic development officials, elected leaders and students — will take part in a hands-on activity symbolic of their successful efforts. Rich Hadley, president and CEO of the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce, will speak on behalf of the community.

The 106,000-square-foot building is expected to be completed by fall 2006. It will help address the rising tide of students seeking space on Washington’s college campuses. As with the other buildings on campus, Academic Center facilities will be used for both WSU Spokane and Eastern Washington University programs taught at the Riverpoint campus.

The building will house an expanded library. The library of the WSU Intercollegiate College of Nursing will also move into the building when the Riverpoint Nursing building, currently in design, is ready for occupancy.

The new center also will provide facilities for the expansion of academic programs and support for core educational functions, adding 346 classroom seats as well as computer laboratories.

Northwest Architectural Company served as the architectural firm for the project, being built by Shea Graham Construction. Including design, construction and classroom equipment and furnishings, the project budget totals $33.85 million.

Interim WSU Spokane Chancellor Nicholas Lovrich said, “The Academic Center will be the heart of the campus and a cornerstone of the expansion of higher education opportunities in downtown. Its construction brings us another step closer to our vision for an urban campus woven into the fabric of Spokane that provides high-quality education, hands-on problem solving, and results-oriented research.”

Note to editors:

The program will take place outside, immediately adjacent to the active construction site. The work to date is the entire foundation excavation; see photos and a Web cam link online at http://www.spokane.wsu.edu/aboutWSUSpokane/academic_center.asp .

8:15 a.m.: Program begins with remarks by WSU President V. Lane Rawlins.

8:20 a.m.: Symbolic activity: “Putting the pieces together.”

The symbolic activity involves a large picture of the building rendering, mounted and made into a 3 x 4-foot jigsaw puzzle. One at a time, members of the platform party will make brief remarks about their perspectives on the collaborative effort that resulted in funding for the building, then add a piece to the puzzle. ASWSU Spokane President Ryan Rieger and Vice President Allan Hullinger will put the final piece in place together, representing the students who are the reason behind capital construction requests for higher education.

8:40 a.m.: Remarks by Rich Hadley, president/CEO of the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of the community.

8:50 a.m.: Program ends.