South University District development announced with EWU expansion

South University District development announced with EWU expansion

A piece of land currently highlighted by an old building, construction fences and an unpaved parking lot is about to get a completely new face lift.

Eastern Washington University, Avista, Katerra and Mckinstry have teamed up to build a 150,000 square foot ‘Catalyst’ building with space enough for businesses and classes in the South University District, at the end of the city’s $9.5 million pedestrian bridge.

Eastern Washington University announced on Tuesday they would be moving their Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Visual Communication Design programs to the new building which will also have Avista and Katerra offices.

Avista currently owns the land the building will be built on and it was originally intended for a sub-station. Katerra and McKinstry will be responsible for construction and Michael Green Architects designed the building.

“What is exciting about this vision is the commerce that it will bring to the south landing area,” said Scott Morris, CEO of Avista.

With the close proximity of businesses and students, the new building is being called a future hub for innovation.

“There is space to gather inside, and outside so that it will really activate the building and the entire neighborhood,” said Michael Green.

Construction is expected to start this Fall with completion in the Spring of 2020 and will cost more than $50 million.

The building is designed with sustainability in mind and will include solar panels, rainwater and heat recovery and low water flow plumbing fixtures. Katerra will be using cross-laminated timber to construct the building, which is more carbon-friendly than using concrete of iron.

Plans for the future include connecting the building into an ‘eco-district’ and sharing energy with other buildings in the area.

“It will be the first net zero ready building on this side of the state,” said Dean Allen, CEO of McKinstry. “When people think about what cities should be doing, what corporations should be doing and what academia should be doing as they grow in the new millennia of carbon neutral net zero buildings, this is the place they will learn from.”

With this expansion, EWU will bring roughly 1000 additional students into the heart of downtown Spokane.