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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Western will welcome a new dormitory, science building and academic support facility by fall 2021

Illustration by Shannon DeLurio

By Erikah Guillen

Western has announced that three new buildings including a residence hall, an interdisciplinary science building and a consolidated academic support services facility are scheduled to open on campus by fall of 2021.

According to an April 10 press release by Paul Cocke, director of university communications and marketing, the funding for two of these projects is around $60 million coming from a combination of revenue bond proceeds, current cash in the University Residence system, and Washington state appropriations.

Construction will begin on the new residence hall after the Highland Hall building are demolished in September, according to the press release. The building, located on the Ridgeway Complex, will be replaced by the new residence hall. Western has already contracted a number of architects and construction companies for these projects according to the press release.

Although design plans for the building are still underway, the residence hall is expected to hold 400 beds.

“In meetings, focus group comments and participation in conversations with architects, engineers and university administrators, students and their leadership continue to participate and provide valuable perspectives about the project,” Cocke said.

According to the press release, the interdisciplinary science building is expected to begin construction in January 2020. It will be located south of the biology building with a sky bridge that connects the two. The 50,000 square-foot building is intended to create more space for science, technology, engineering and math-related majors.

“The new building will provide greatly needed lab and classroom space, including flexible teaching labs and active learning spaces in biology, chemistry and several other STEM degree programs; this also will enhance Western’s ability to expand pre-healthcare degrees to help address a statewide shortage in healthcare workers,” Cocke said.

Construction for the new Consolidated Academic Support Services Facility is expected to begin in the summer of this year and will be located just south of main campus.

Unlike the other buildings, construction is expected to end in the fall of 2020, according to the press release. This building is intended for non-academic staff. Funding for this building is still pending approval but the building is expected to be financed through a state-issued Certificate of Participation sale.

According to Cocke, Western plans to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold rating for all three of these projects. This means the building has to earn 60 to 79 points and these points are awarded over several categories: Location & Transportation, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovation and more, according to the U.S. Green Building Councils website.

An informational meeting will take place on Wednesday April 17 at the Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission meeting in the Library Lecture Room at the Bellingham Public Library at 6:30 p.m..

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