New Health Sciences building nears completion


Max Hughes

The interior of the new Health Sciences building as shown during the virtual tour.

Max Hughes, Staff Reporter

CWU’s new Health Sciences building is scheduled to be completed in November. The project began in 2019 with the demolition of Hertz hall, and classes are projected to begin in the new building in January 2022, according to Doug Ryder, project manager for the health sciences building.

“We’re projecting for construction to be substantially complete in November of this year, but there will still be quite a bit of work as far as outfitting the building with furnishings and equipment technology and the move-in the contents of the occupants,” Ryder said.

The new building will include more opportunities for experiential learning. For example, the back half of an ambulance in the building will allow students to practice in a real-life adjacent setting, according to Ryder.

“CWU also owns an actual ambulance, that we may end up having a concrete pad that we can park that and allow students to use,” Ryder said.

There will also be simulation rooms that will enable students to practice in real-life environments, something that is not available to current CWU students according to Vincent Nethery, former chair of the department of nutrition, exercise and health sciences.

“For example there’s a small room set up in this that’s a simulation of a bedroom. There’s another small room that’s a simulation of a kitchen, and another one that’s a simulation of a living room area, and in this sense …  the EMTs and paramedics … get the opportunity to be able to negotiate the specific real life scenarios that would exist,” Nethery said.

Ryder said the building will be an eco-friendly building, using former Hertz concrete and crushing it to make new structural fill and having weatherproofing and insulation that will allow for better energy conservation.

“We also have plans to have 8,000 square feet of solar panels which will produce quite a bit of solar energy,” Ryder said. “I would say probably 9% to 10% of the building electricity will be renewable.”

The new building will meet the needs of the growing Health Sciences department at CWU. Nethery said that the department now services 800 students, making it one of the largest three departments at CWU.

“Shortly after the beginning of the department, it became blatantly obvious that the facility needs on the campus fell far short of the requirements of the different programs that were in the department,” Nethery said. “So, it became very important from a conceptual perspective and a practical perspective to have a centralized area where the faculty and students can interact among themselves.”

Right now, the Health Sciences Department uses about six different buildings on campus which include Purser Hall, Nicholson pavilion, Psychology, Black Hall, Michelson Hall and some laboratory spaces in Farrell Hall.

“The north portion consists of instructional and laboratory spaces, and on the south portion of the second and third floor are the offices for faculty and staff” Ryder said, “On the ground floor of the South portion of the building has a large 120 seat lecture Hall and then to each side of that are 2 smaller 45 seat lecture halls.”