Science Phase II nearly complete


Felicia Kopperdahl/Observer

Joanne Hillemann, building project manager, points out the new telescope platforms on the roof of Science II, which is set to open in Fall of 2016

Sarah Quartararo, Copy Desk

The construction site for Science II, set to open for class in fall of 2016, simmers in the smell of plaster and paint.

The entry to the massive 120,000-square-foot building — past construction vehicles, stacks of unidentifiable materials and rock columns — is cavernous and leads to concrete hallways dotted with caged lights dangling from wires.

The building broke ground on May 1, 2014 and construction will be complete in March. The university will then begin moving in furniture and equipment, and will move the geology and physics departments  during the slower summer months.

“These are two of our high-demand science programs, so those students and faculty have something exciting to look forward to,” Central President James Gaudino said in a news release.

The building is still under construction, evidenced in the cardboard-wrapped doorjambs. But the skeletal beginnings of classrooms are visible in the cabinets and countertops already installed, the whiteboards already affixed to the wall.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any obstacles keeping us from opening on time,” said Joanne Hillemann, the project’s manager in Central’s facilities, planning and construction department. “The project is pretty far along that most of the unforeseen conditions have already been encountered. So I don’t think there will be any delays.”

There will be geologic specimens on the north side of the building along the Japanese garden, and the north entrance features stone columns similar to the ones on the west side of the SURC. The south side uses natural light to enhance visibility in geology labs and classrooms, and there’s also an outdoor classroom space planned on the south side of the building.


LEED Certification

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

LEED points aren’t just based on the final product of building construction, but include things such as site choice, construction, disposal of materials, operation of the building and maintenance, according to the LEED website.

In the 2005 legislative session, Washington passed the country’s first law requiring that “all new buildings and renovation projects that receive state funding be built to one of three green building standards,” according to the Green Building page on Washington’s Department of Ecology website.

Science II is aiming for a LEED certification of silver or better, Hillemann said.

“If we got every point we could potentially get gold,” Hilleman said. “Silver was the most realistic goal,” since it’s more difficult to get LEED points in buildings with numerous science labs.  Central typically designs projects with a buffer, she said, in case some points are not granted by the raters.

Science II will also be the first building on campus to use recycled waste heat from the steam plant to heat water that will be piped into Science II to warm the building. The system should keep the new building from increasing CWU’s carbon footprint when it’s being heated, Hillemann said.

Science II will be joining Dean Hall and Hogue Hall, which both have gold certification. The university is still waiting to hear about Barto Hall’s certification, Hillemann said, which they’re hoping will be platinum, the highest possible.

The proximity of Science II to amenities and bus lines helped add to its LEED points. The sustainable sites category is where most of Science II’s LEED points come from, Hillemann said.

There are two showers in Science II on the third floor. The showers are meant to encourage people to commute to work by walking, jogging or biking.

Other attempts at minimizing the building’s impact include a white roof to lessen the building’s “heat island effect.” Concrete and other construction materials have also been locally sourced.