Old Heat may be new Center for Cultural Innovation


Mitchell Roland

While the plan isn’t finalized, ASCWU is working to build a new multicultural center.

Ty Mcphee, Staff Reporter

ASCWU has been in talks for three to four months about a possible plan to convert the Old Heat building into the new multicultural center starting fall 2021.

The planned phases for the remodeling of Old Heat would span roughly a decade, with phase one being the 7,000 square foot south annex portion. The total cost for the project would be upwards of $4 million.

Mickael Candelaria, ASCWU student body president said, “Obviously, we can’t just magically find 4 million dollars for this building.”

According to Candelaria, funding for that first phase of renovations will cost $1.85 million and would come directly from the students much like the SURC, and for future phases ASCWU will be looking for other means. These means of finishing the project may include the City of Ellensburg, state funding or state grants. 

Candelaria is the sixth student body president to try and get this building on campus.

“It’s definitely been a need on our campus, especially with the racial and social unrest seen in the world today,” Candelaria said.

The name for the center will also be changing. Instead of the Multicultural Center, it will be the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI).

Candelaria also said the project has progressed more than previous years, and he wants to hopefully reach out to students and see if this is something they want to commit to.

The CCI would also be a place for members of the community and not just students. 

“If they still live in Ellensburg and want to find people with the same identity, this would be the space,” Candelaria said. 

The priority of the space would be for students who feel marginalized, but plans for collaboration with those in the community will also be included. 

Ellensburg councilmember Nancy Goodloe has been included in some of the meetings regarding Old Heat to ensure that there will be community engagement and to not restrict the use of the building to only CWU students.

Vice President of Inclusivity and Diversity Kandi Cleary said students will be the ones to ultimately decide what will go into the phase one reconstruction of Old Heat.

“Is it a done deal? I don’t think it’s a done deal yet,” Cleary said. 

Cleary said being in the middle of a budget crisis plays into how soon and whether this is a feasible option for students to push for and eventually have come to them.

The planned start for the reconstruction will depend on funding, with the projected start date being fall 2021.

“I just want to emphasize that this isn’t set in stone and that we are doing our due diligence and making sure that students are aware that this is something that the student government board wants to accomplish,” Candelaria said. “But we won’t move further with this project if we don’t have a good majority of the students’ support.”