interior artistic sketch of new building.

In the News

$10 Million Gift to Accelerate STEM Education and Build the Workforce of Tomorrow

Reducing Carbon

The internationally acclaimed sustainable design expert, Jason F. McLennan, is guiding the net-zero energy/zero carbon design strategy for the building. The building will be a "smart building", exceed LEED standards for energy use, carbon, and other environmental indicators, and will pursue certification through the International Living Future Institute. When complete, Kaiser Borsari Hall will be the only carbon positive academic facility in the region, be among a handful in the nation, and significantly advance Western’s vision to become the region’s first carbon neutral university campus.

Driving the Future

Smart buildings. Energy systems. Smart grids. Cyber security. Artificial intelligence. Autonomous vehicles. Mobile apps. Machine learning. These are the technologies shaping the future. Western Washington University is expanding ABET accredited Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Energy Science and Technology programs to tackle the most pressing technological challenges of our time. Together with industry partners, we are building dynamic and collaborative programs for applied education and research in advanced technology engineering.
 

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ENERGY

INCREASED CAPACITY to meet emerging needs in the energy industry through academic programs in business, economics, policy, and energy technology, science, and engineering

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TECHNOLOGY

INCREASED CAPACITY to meet needs in the IT sector through academic programs in computer engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science

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AEROSPACE

INCREASED CAPACITY to meet emerging needs in the aerospace industry through academic programs in engineering, manufacturing, and supply chain management

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TRANSPORATION

INCREASED CAPACITY to meet emerging needs in the transportation sector through academic programs in computer engineering, electrical engineering, and systems engineering

Preparing More Problem-Solvers

Western is committed to providing more graduates in high demand fields. Western’s focus on small classes, interdisciplinary approaches, hands-on learning, and student participation in faculty-led research is a strategic advantage when it comes to preparing the next generation of innovators and problem-solvers. Western is also committed to inclusive success. We understand that more people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experience need to come together to solve problems. Diversity of perspective is key to shaping a sustainable future.

Connecting Industry to Education

Western’s new advanced technology engineering and computer science building is a direct response to the needs of Washington state industries and employers. The building will be a place for collaboration and connection with spaces that foster innovation, investigation, and inspiration. Physically and culturally accessible, it will be a hub where industry experts, faculty, and students come together to co-create the technology and engineering solutions for today and tomorrow.

Students and teachers in a modern computer lab
Building mockup

Funding the New Facility

The project budget for the new building is $68 million. The Washington State Legislature has signaled a commitment to fund a majority of the project budget in FY21 – 23. The Western Washington University Foundation is conducting a capital campaign to raise $20 million, launched  with a $10 million lead gift from long-time donors Fred Kaiser and Grace Borsari. In a recent statement, Kaiser and Borsari noted, “It has always been our priority to invest in education as it pays the highest dividends to all stakeholders.”

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Student-Centered Study and Work Commons

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R&D/Interdisciplinary Collaborative Spaces and Class Rooms

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Career Connections Center, Event Spaces, & Lecture Halls

Frequently Asked Questions

The new building will support enhanced programs in Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Energy Science and Technology. These programs respond to the specialized needs of advanced technology industries in our region and fill a special niche in the continuum of STEM education infrastructure in our state.

While this shift online learning has provided opportunities to enhance access to programs that will continue in the future, the applied learning associated with advanced technology engineering depends on access to collaborative work spaces and advanced technology labs. Increased space is necessary as the demand for these programs, by employers and students, continues to grow.

This is a new challenge for designers. We are fortunate to be in the early design stage and these issues will be considered in the design process. We are also fortunate to be working with leaders in this field. Emerging technologies to address this issue will be considered, along with other currently available mechanisms to mitigate biohazards.

The Washington State legislature has committed $2M for the design phase and signaled the intent to allocate $46M for design/construction in the 2021-2023 biennium provided the Western Washington University Foundation is able to secure a portion of the anticipated construction costs through pledges of private support. Pledges need to be confirmed by the end of 2020 however donors have until March 31, 2023 to fulfill their pledges. The Foundation has made excellent headway toward its fundraising goal of $20M with over $12.5M confirmed and $3M in requests pending.

Western received a 60 million dollar capital allocation in the 2019 – 2021 biennium for the construction of a general science building to alleviate existing space shortages for science-related instruction. This integrated science building is essential to maintain current graduation rates and to support general increases in STEM-related degrees. However, this new building will not provide the space required to expand advanced technology-related programs.

The building will be located on Western’s main campus as part of the University’s commitment to ensure that undergraduate education facilities are co-located. The location currently under consideration is on the south end of campus, prominently located along East College Way.

Strengthening the continuum of STEM-related degree programs in our region is critical.  Western’s project to increase the number of electrical and computer engineers, computer scientists, and people with expertise in energy science and technology, compliments other projects in the region.

Manca Valum

Manca Valum, ​Senior Director of Advancement for Strategic Initiatives

Manca is here to answer questions about how you can support Western Washington University at 360.650.6542 or Manca.Valum@wwu.edu.