RICHLAND, Wash. — The Washington State University Board of Regents voted this morning to approve the construction of a student union building at WSU Tri-Cities.
In 2013, a feasibility study outlined the need for a 6,250 square foot student union building that could include recreation, study and meeting spaces for students. The final design process will begin immediately with an anticipated opening in 2017.
The Board approved a total budget for the project that is not to exceed $5,730,000 for the effort, also authorizing university officials to proceed with design and construction using the design-build process as indicated in RCW 39.10. The new building will be located adjacent to the Consolidated Information Center at WSU Tri-Cities.
Chris Meiers, vice chancellor of enrollment management and student services, said the construction of a student union building is critical for the ongoing growth and positive student experience on the WSU Tri-Cities Campus.
“This has been a tremendous accomplishment for the students of WSU Tri-Cities and our community,” he said. “I am proud of all the current and former students that have made our campus’ first space, solely designed around the student experience, a reality.”
Since opening in 1989, Meiers said the WSU Tri-Cities campus has grown to more than 1,500 students. He said, as a result of the growth through the years, space has become more and more of an issue. With the addition of a new student union, however, students will have a dedicated space to meet, study and relax, he said.
The students at WSU Tri-Cities have amassed a reserve account of $1,445,785 through student fees, which will fund a portion of the project. The rest will be funded with bonds, which will be repaid with student-approved fees.
WSU Tri-Cities students voted in spring 2014 to approve a $100 per academic semester student union fee to fund a new student union building. In February of this year, they voted to add on an additional $50 per academic semester to that fee. The $150 student-approved fee will generate approximately $390,000 per year to fund the remaining $4.3 million cost for the project, as well as operating and maintenance costs.
Rigo Leon, Associated Students of Washington State University Tri-Cities president, said the decision to build a student union building is a huge step toward improving the quality of the student experience at WSU Tri-Cities.
“It is something that students have been greatly looking forward to for many years,” he said. “It is impressive that the students voted to assess themselves this fee for the betterment of the campus.”
Construction for the new student union building is projected to begin in July 2016.
Chris Meiers, vice chancellor of enrollment management and student services, WSU Tri-Cities, 509-372-7358, firstname.lastname@example.org
Maegan Murray, public relations specialist, WSU Tri-Cities, 509-372-7319, email@example.com