Science Building is Failing to Keep Up with Student Growth

Engineers have designed plans to renovate and expand the existing struture

Science+Building+is+Failing+to+Keep+Up+with+Student+Growth

Courtesy of EWU Construction and Planning Services

By Kristi Lucchetta, News Editor

The EWU Science building has served its purpose for the past 50 years, but with the growing student population over time and the aging architecture, a renovation and addition is being pursued by EWU lobbyists and ASEWU members.

“The Science building has served students exceptionally well, but now it is having a ton of issues,” Benjamin Rowe, EWU ASEWU Olympia Liaison, said.

The Science building has been present on campus since 1962 and has since encountered a several issues, including malfunctioning HVAC system, roof leaks causing mold and electrical issues.

According to the EWU Science Building Predesign book, the request includes efforts to increase the instructional productivity and existing square footage to optimize the use of existing facilities and to create the potential for collaboration between students and academic departments.

The plan is also seeking approval for an Interdisciplinary Science Center which would be attached to the current and renovated science building with a skywalk.

The predesign is requesting $51,344,000 in state capital funds for the total project cost for Phase I and $52,693,000 for Phase II of the process.

“We are hoping legislature understands the importance of a new building, along with the renovations of the Science Building,” Rowe said.

Rowe said EWU staff is doing as much as possible to deal with the mold and other issues for the time being by constantly replacing ceiling tiles that grow mold because of the dark, cold climates in the ceiling area.

Incidents have already occurred regarding faculty members having to relocate their office into another building on campus because of the mold and flooding that has occurred. Rowe said students have been in the middle of a lab when bugs started coming out of the ceiling.

Not only are there chronic issues with the building’s infrastructure, Rowe said the biggest problem is the student growth is increasing each year with limited space to accommodate them.

“Faculty and students don’t have the space, and even if they had the space, they don’t have the controlled atmosphere in the building to perform experiments or do their research,” Rowe said.

According to the Predesign Book, the current state of the Science building has substantial deficiencies that go against the University’s mission to provide “an excellent student-centered learning environment” through “exceptional facilities.” The deficiencies also cannot support the region’s growing need for STEM and healthcare degrees, thereby reducing EWU’s capacity and ability to “build upon the region’s assets and offer a broad range of choices as appropriate to the needs of the University’s students and the region.”

Rowe said the addition of the Interdisciplinary Science Center will be a big help but stressed that it will not solve the problem to the current state of the building if the renovations are not approved. It is important for the current Governor’s budget proposal to include the renovation since it will truly help the students, Rowe said.

There is an approved investment of $400,000 in the predesign as well as an approved invested of $4.8 million into the design request. According to the Predesign Book, the final contract closeout will be completed in Feb. 2023.