The Spokane regional health partnership between the University of Washington and Gonzaga will be getting a new home. Leaders from the two universities on Monday announced plans for a four-story building that will house the universities’ joint health sciences programs in the city’s University District.
The UW first began sending first-year medical students to study on the Gonzaga campus in 2016. Students have attended classes in the Schoenberg Center, a circular building that once housed the Museum of Native American Cultures. It hasn’t been an ideal fit. Students have to go elsewhere to do their work in the anatomy lab.
“We’ve been very, very lucky to be using the facility we are, but it wasn’t built purposefully for medical education," said UW President Ana Mari Cauce. "This new facility will meet the long-term space needs of our medical education partnership and it will be built and owned by the design and construction firm McKinstry and jointly leased and operated by the UW School of Medicine and Gonzaga.”
Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh says the new building will be designed for medical students and physician assistant students and human physiology students.
“We’re delighted to coalesce around a vision for a facility that will offer contemporary and cutting-edge educational facilities, along with the space to do research. Research and room to grow," McCulloh said. "We envision new health science programs here, solid research opportunities for our community and increasingly more collaborative efforts in this new state-of-the-art space."
The building will have four stories, about 80,000 square feet and cost an estimated $60 million. It will be built and owned by the design/construction firm McKinstry, right next to its Spokane headquarters, close to the Gonzaga campus. The two universities will lease the space. As part of the project, McKinstry will also move out of its current facility, giving away to the universities.
McKinstry is also involved in creating a major building for Eastern Washington University on the south end of the new Gateway Bridge in the U-District. That’s something that was mentioned by Senator Andy Billig during Monday’s announcement.
“Every project helps us to move forward, in terms of education, in terms of health care and in terms of economic development," Billig said. "This building certainly adds to the thriving higher education and health care ecosystem in the University District and in Spokane as a whole.”
The building is scheduled to be ready for students by fall 2022.