PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University has broken ground the new, state-of-the-art Clean Technology Laboratory Building. The 96,000-square-foot, $52.8 million facility will eventually contain the school’s science and engineering programs, and provide a space for students and researchers to tackle a variety of global and environmental challenges.
“This is truly a great day for us as we celebrate the official launch of the first major construction project for our college in decades,” said Candis Claiborn, dean of the WSU College of Engineering and Architecture. ”The impact of the Clean Technology Laboratory Building will be immediate and significant. The transitional research that will take place in this space will address some of society’s grand challenges around energy and environment.”
Upon completion, the glass and brick Clean Technology Laboratory Building will house both basic and applied science and engineering programs, and will provide top quality research facilities for faculty and students on all levels. According to the university, that research and instruction will focus on sustainable design and infrastructure; air and water quality research; and advanced materials research emphasizing renewable energy. At the March groundbreaking, WSU Interim Provost Daniel Bernardo added that the new laboratory would also be used to develop new materials that are more environmentally friendly and economically sustainable.
Alongside classrooms, offices and student lounges, the interdisciplinary facility will also include research laboratories serving the Composite Materials and Engineering Center, the Laboratory for Atmospheric Research, and Civil and Environmental Engineering. In addition, the building will contain common support areas, specialized core laboratories and conference areas.
Though related, science and engineering programs are often separated in university settings, as is the current case at WSU. According to the university, many undergraduate- and graduate-level students studying these related fields are hampered by the separate and aging engineering and science facilities currently available. This new facility will likely help set WSU apart.
"Providing these modern facilities is going to be critical for recruiting the best faculty, and for attracting the brightest students, the majority of which stay in the state after they’ve graduated," Dean Claiborn added in an interview with KLEW TV after the groundbreaking.
LMN Architects and Skanska USA collaborated on the design-build proposal for the Clean Technology Laboratory Building, which will open in October 2015. PAE Consulting Engineers, Inc., Sparling, Inc. and Coughlin Porter Lundeen, Inc. will also provide engineering expertise.
According to Dave Harrison, senior vice president of of Skanska USA, this level of collaboration and communication between design and construction partners is a great advantage to the project. “By working together as one team, the contractor, architect and key engineering partners can identify constructability issues in the design well before they become an issue in the field,” Harrison wrote in the Daily Journal of Commerce.