Years of construction kept Eastern Washington University's largest classroom closed, but it's now back open and ready for students.
The Patterson building on the EWU Cheney campus opened Monday after almost four years of remodeling, but the capital improvement project wasn't just about making things look better, it's about improving the Eagle community and pride in the school.
Patterson was originally built in the 1940's and is part of an aging infrastructure on the EWU campus but recently that's been changing.
"We've been able to invest a lot in the infrastructure since 2005," said Mike Westfall, Vice President of Advancement at EWU.
Many other buildings on campus have been remodeled, including Senior Hall and Hargreaves Hall. The Patterson project cost $457 Million and students like Ethan Brandt are noticing.
"It's the difference between, 'Ugh, I have to go to school,' and you walk into a new building and you're like, 'Dude, I'm going to school," said Brandt.
One of the new features in the Patterson building is the electronic calendar outside each classroom. Students can check the time and date for what class is being held and even see notes posted by the professors.
The university says it does what it takes to improve the learning environment. Another benefit to the new look, amenities and technology is that more students are staying at Eastern, a campus that's often thought of as a commuter campus.
"We have the highest percentage of students living on campus then we've ever had and that has continued to rise every single year," said Westfall.
More students on campus equals more student interaction and a better university experience, which faculty hopes leads to even more Eagle pride.
"Would you rather say, 'Oh yeah, you know I go to Eastern Washington University it's a little bit outdated or would you rather say, 'Eagle pride, I go to Eastern Washington University, you see those remodels we just did? Those things are sick,'" said Brandt.
"It's definitely a change in attitude if not motivation," he added.
Next on the improvement list is the student union building and possibly a new science building.
"We're working with our state legislators to try and get the funds to support that endeavor," said Westfall.
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