Western Washington University’s Alumni Association and Foundation will be opening a new location on Friday, June 19, in the Bellingham Herald building downtown. The new office will serve as a “Welcome-to-Western” center for students, alumni and visitors interested in Western. The 2,500-square-foot ground floor area will include a conference and events room, as well as facilities for the public to find out more about campus life, according to a press release from the University Communications Office. “I think it would be cool for Western to have a presence in the community rather than be secluded on a hill,” Western freshman Becka Cerka said. Western has signed an initial two-year lease with options for three additional annual extensions. The cost of the leased space is $3,881 per month, DeWees said in an email. The office is funded through a three-way partnership between the university, Western Alumni Association, and the Western Foundation, Deborah DeWees, senior director of Alumni and Communications, said in an email. This new space will allow the university to better engage directly with more than 15,000 alumni in the Bellingham area, along with Bellingham-based businesses and philanthropists, DeWees said in an email. “This is a terrific opportunity; a move that will better connect the university with the downtown alumni and the entire local community,” DeWees said. The initial focus of the office will be outreach to Western alumni and spreading awareness for “I Stand for Western,” the $60 million campaign Western launched in October 2014, she said. “We hope that students will find this another resource through which they can connect with alumni and business leaders in our community,” DeWees said.