2020 construction projects will add research, academic space

Rendering of Plant Sciences Building.
A rendering of WSU Pullman's new Plant Sciences Building.

From expanding research capabilities in Pullman to adding new classrooms in the Tri-Cities, WSU is undertaking major construction projects this year across the system.

The largest of these projects is the $66 million Plant Sciences Building in Pullman, where officials broke ground in 2018. In an effort to save money in the long run, members of the WSU Board of Regents voted in October to complete work on the building’s top two floors. A previous plan called for leaving those floors as shells and to have crews return at a later time to finish them.

“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,” Stacy Pearson, vice president for finance and administration,” said at the time.

WSU plans to spend $7.5 million to finish those top two floors by October, giving the Pullman campus much needed office and research space.

The most significant project happening outside of Pullman is the forthcoming Academic Building at WSU Tri Cities. Officials broke ground on the 40,000 square-foot project in November, with work continuing on the site until early 2021. Its completion will bring two new 96-seat active learning classroom spaces to the Tri-Cities campus in addition to a dozen new labs for physics, biology and chemistry work.

The Cougar Baseball Facility Project: BTO (Back to Omaha) is another holdover from 2019 that will continue to see construction activity throughout 2020. The new $10 million clubhouse facility and entrance to Bailey-Brayton Field is entirely funded through donor support. Construction is expected to wrap up in time for the 2021 season.

The state-of-the-art facility will feature a 1,300 square-foot locker room, a 1,500 square-foot weight and cardio room, academic and team meeting spaces as well as recognition of Cougar baseball’s history.

Construction of the second phase of WSU’s Global Animal Health Building project will also continue throughout 2020. The new home of the Paul H. Allen School for Global Animal Health Disease Detection and Surveillance Program is expected to open in early 2021.

Later this summer, WSU expects to complete the College of Veterinary Medicine’s elk hoof disease research facility. The state-of-the-art facility will house captive elk needed to study the disease in a secure, controlled environment. Elk S19, otherwise known as Salix, arrived late last year as the first elk calf acquired by WSU for its Elk Hoof Disease Research Program.

The university will also be undertaking necessary maintenance across the system as needed, said Joe Kline, assistant vice president of facilities services’ capital projects. Many of the projects described above received significant funding from the Washington State Legislature.

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