EWU construction continues with new buildings


Jeremy Burnham

(Left to right) Katerra President of Construction Mike Rock, EWU President Mary Cullinan, McKinstry CEO Dean Allen, Avista CEO Scott Morris, Spokane Mayor David Condon and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell prepare to break ground on the Catalyst Building in Spokane. The five story, 150,000 square-foot building is scheduled to open in 2020.

By Jeremy Burnham, Managing Editor

As students arrive on campus for the start of the school year, they may feel they are entering a construction site rather than a university. EWU currently has three buildings under construction as it continues to add to its Cheney and Spokane campuses.

Work on the PUB is wrapping up. The renovated building is expected to open during homecoming week in October.

The PUB will feature new dining options, including Panda Express, a global café, a revamped Pence Union Market and Freshens Smoothies.

The PUB will house services and organizations such as the EWU bookstore, Student Life, Career Services, clubs and organizations, the Multicultural Center, ASEWU and the Pride Center. It will also feature a gaming lounge, a computer center and several student-lounge areas. Each floor will contain gender-neutral restrooms.

“I’m excited to see how the new building will positively influence the community experience,” PUB director Daniel Clapp told The Easterner in February.

Over the summer, construction started on two other buildings. On the Cheney campus, EWU kicked off construction of its new Interdisciplinary Science Center.

Work on the $60 million project is expected to wrap up in May 2020. Funding for the building was approved earlier this year when Governor Jay Inslee signed the $4.2 billion 2018-19 capital budget on Jan. 19.

The current science building is 47 years old. In January, Dr. Mary Cullinan, EWU president, said the building was “no longer adequate for our students, faculty and staff.”

Lydig Construction Inc., of Spokane Valley, will build the 100,000 square-foot building, which will connect to the existing science building. The university hopes to renovate the older site at a later date.

Jeremy Burnham
Crews work on construction of new science building. The building is located between the PUB and the current science building.

Meanwhile, construction has started on the new “Catalyst” building in Spokane. U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell spoke at the ground-breaking ceremony on Aug. 8 and said it will be the region’s first ever net-zero energy and carbon building.

“The Pacific Northwest has always been a leader in innovation,” Cantwell said. “But this Catalyst Building takes what we’ve already seen in aviation and telecom and software development and hydro power and is now putting it all together in one of the smartest energy efficient buildings in the country.”

The building, which will open in 2020, is a five story, 150,000 square foot building.  

EWU will share the building, but will be its largest tenant. Cullinan said more than 1,000 students will have classes there. Other tenants include McKinstry, Avista and Katerra, all of which are helping to build or design the building.

“Students are going to come to the building and hopefully be exposed to our neighbors,” Cullinan told Spokane Public Radio on Aug. 8. “My hope is they will start working with McKinstry and Avista and Katerra, and before you know it, they will be working for those entities.” •