WSUV innovates in the field of science

Leaders from Washington State University in Vancouver ceremoniously opened the floor of their science pavilion Thursday morning.

Scheduled to open to students in the fall of 2023, the building will serve as a teaching and research facility comprising laboratory space, classrooms and offices primarily for those studying life sciences such as biology. and chemistry. It will also include space for nursing, psychology and medicine programs.

“In my 10th year, it’s just a dream to be in this location,” WSU Vancouver Chancellor Mel Netzhammer said in front of the future building, with Mount St. Helens looming. among the clouds behind him. “The science pavilion is designed to be a welcoming and communicative space for the entire campus community.

The university received $ 52.6 million under the state’s 2021-2023 capital budget to fund the project, which has an estimated total cost of $ 57.1 million. The university plans to raise an additional $ 10 million to fund the addition of a greenhouse.

Along with Netzhammer, WSU Chairman Kirk Schulz and a handful of state lawmakers spoke about how essential education projects like this have been in recent years.

“We knew this was going to be one of the key priorities that we would try to fund in higher education last year, and I’m so glad we were able to do that,” said Senator Dave Frocht, who represents the greater Seattle area.

A new phase for WSUV

WSU Vancouver opened its doors to students in 1996, when the education landscape was very different and the demand for STEM programs – science, technology, engineering, and math – was not as strong. Since the school expanded to educate freshmen and sophomores in 2006, the school has said the desire for lab spaces supporting these STEM fields has “exploded.”

A building with this goal could not have come at a better time.

Not only will this building facilitate the continued growth of the Vancouver campus, but its focus on life sciences is all the more relevant as the community – and the world – begins to emerge from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, have stated Frocht and Schulz.

“Since the start of the pandemic, a lot of people have become curious about medical research and vaccines,” Schulz said. “Even though we planned this building long before that, I think the research that will be done in this building is even more relevant. “

Schulz said what started as an extension of the Pullman campus has now grown into a symbol of pride that supports the rapidly growing community in southwest Washington.

“When we started with just one building, I don’t think anyone really imagined what it might look like now,” he said. “It continues to add the infrastructure we need. For students in southwest Washington, that would mean they wouldn’t have to leave the area to get a four-year degree or to do research.

Netzhammer started the event with a land reconnaissance, which noted the indigenous tribes on which the new building will be built. He then turned the mic over to Roben White, a descendant of the Cheyenne and Lakota tribes and a member of the school’s Native American community advisory board for a blessing of the land.

White stressed the importance of how the construction of a new science building could incorporate the traditional ecological knowledge of local indigenous tribes into the lessons that are taught there one day.

“I really hope the university starts working with local tribes to teach a lot of our programs and make sure these jobs, as much as possible, are filled by natives,” White said.

The designers said the building will showcase the art and culture of the local Cowlitz tribes, as well as elements that showcase the colors and patterns of the regional environment.

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