The partners involved in creating the new Catalyst building just east of downtown Spokane celebrated a virtual grand opening ceremony today [Thursday].
The building will anchor what is now called the South Landing Eco-District neighborhood, near the southern terminus of the Gateway Bridge in the University District. It will soon house several Eastern Washington University programs.
The building is notable because its main building material is cross-laminated timber created at the Katerra factory in Spokane Valley. Katerra’s president is Craig Curtis.
“The carbon that is stored in the mass timber in the building, the glue-lam columns, the CLT walls and floors, the biogenic carbon that’s stored in that wood offsets 100% the carbon that was used in order to manufacture the materials that built the rest of this building," Curtis said.
The building is also notable for creating more energy than it uses. That excess will be shared with other buildings in the neighborhood.
The speakers from the partner institutions, McKinstry, Avista and Eastern Washington University, among them, talked up the educational possibilities. Interim EWU President David May credited his predecessor, Mary Cullinan, for getting Eastern involved with the project.
“What she saw is not just putting a flag in the ground in Spokane, what she saw was Eastern’s chance to be a leader in Spokane in a way that we haven’t been in the past. This is the first step," May said. "This is the first bold step for Eastern in Spokane.”
May says EWU expects to, post-Covid, have up to a thousand students attending classes in the Catalyst. The hope is they’ll be able to start there next fall.