Major Renovation Project Completed at WWU’s Carver Facility; more than 1,000 workers have been on site since work began in 2015

The major renovation of Western Washington University’s Carver facility is completed and it will be open for the start of fall quarter.

The Washington State Legislature, as part of the 2015-2017 state capital budget, approved the majority of funding for the project. Construction started in August 2015 and was completed August 2017.

“I would like to thank the Legislature for their support for this vitally important renovation of the Carver facility, which is a vibrant hub for many large volume academic activities, athletics and campus life activities,” said President Sabah Randhawa. “I also want to thank the support of donors, community members, our dedicated staff and the highly skilled workers who made this project a reality.”

The project provided a sizeable local economic impact. More than 1,000 workers have been on the site, or about 150 to 200 each day since construction began in 2015. The project created about 267 jobs on the construction site and in the community during the 24-month construction period. Those jobs translate into about $55.6 million in economic impact in Whatcom County.

The Carver renovation project included 80,918 square feet of renovation, 25,019 square feet of replacement, and 57,885 square feet of new addition for a total building area of 163,822 square feet. The new addition space is largely classrooms and labs.

The project addresses urgently needed seismic reinforcement and hazardous material removal throughout the facility, replaces numerous aging and out-of-date building systems such as fire alarms and security systems, and provides improved Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access to classrooms, labs and offices throughout the building.

The renovation provides classrooms, computer labs, movement labs, instructional space, offices, support facilities and gymnasiums for Health and Human Development, Campus Recreation, and Athletics.  It also provides additional general university classrooms. Health and Human Development (formerly named Physical Education, Health and Recreation) offers degree programs for students interested in professions related to kinesiology, P-12 physical education and health, community health education, and recreation, areas of increasing need for the state. Health and Human Development is also is the largest and fastest-growing academic department at Western.

“The faculty of our Health and Human Development programs are delighted to move into these improved teaching and research facilities. They’re eager to begin returning the investment of our Legislature and people of Washington by providing state-of-the-art education and research opportunities for the next generation of health educators and allied health professionals,” said Brent Mallinckrodt, Dean of Western’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Carver Academic Renovation and Addition project received approximately $77.4 million in state funds (including $6 million in proceeds from a State Certificate of Participation sale). The project is receiving approximately $4 million in institutional funds from the university to finish construction. The total project budget is approximately $81.5 million.

The project has applied for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and Western is waiting to learn what certification level will be obtained.  The building was designed to achieve a rating of Silver or higher. Sustainable features include LED lighting throughout the facility, a green roof at the second level, motion sensor lighting control, recycling and reuse of materials, energy management system, low flow water fixtures, variable speed motors, low VOC materials, and reuse of an existing facility.

The renovated Carver Gymnasium is home to WWU’s 15 intercollegiate varsity sports celebrating their 20th year competing at the NCAA Division II level. WWU has finished in the top 20 in the NCAA II all-sports standings in 8 of the last 10 years, and won two national championships last season (Women’s Soccer, Women’s Rowing).

The men’s and women’s basketball teams and the volleyball program will compete on WECU Court in Carver Gym. The gym has been completely renovated with new LED lights, sound system, basketball floor and refurbished stands. The renovation added a state-of-the-art webcast capability for athletic events and commencement (graduation) ceremonies inside of Carver.

Other new features include: the Parberry Fitness Center, a state-of-the-art strength and conditioning center to help student-athletes develop physically with hands-on training; an academic skills lab where student-athletes can study before and after practice; improved training suite to help student-athletes recover from injuries; lockers for over 300 student-athletes, including team rooms for men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball; and added gym space (full additional gym) in Gym C, where the nationally-ranked volleyball team will be able to utilize two courts during their practices, and a softball batting cage that drops from the ceiling in Gym A to allow the defending GNAC champions a place to practice during inclement weather. For the first time in 30 years for the Athletics Department, all head coaches and administrators are housed in the same area on campus.

Carver will also feature a dedicated Athletics Hall of Fame Room, made possible through a private donation, displaying the plaques of all 140 current members,.  The space will also be used for special pre-game functions for members of the Viking Athletic Club.

The renovated Carver building contains six gender neutral restrooms, including a single-occupancy gender neutral locker room located on the first floor. As per the University’s Gender Neutral Facilities Guidelines, educational signs outside these restrooms help inform the campus community about why gender neutral restrooms are important.

The renovated facility also will include the Freshens Fresh Food Studio and Burrito Bar, providing a range of food options such as smoothies, salads, international rice bowls, mac and cheese bowls, hand-crafted crepes, wraps and burritos.

A public open house for the renovated Carver facility, which will include tours, is being planned for Friday, Oct. 13, with a dedication at 1 p.m. and open house, refreshments and self-guided tours from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Mortenson Construction of Kirkland, Wash., was the general contractor and project construction manager.  Diamond B Constructors, Bellingham, was the mechanical contractor/construction manager and VECA Electric, Bellingham, was the electrical contractor/construction manager.  The design team included LMN Architects; Coughlin Porter Lundeen, structural; KPFF, civil; Murase Associates, landscape architects; and PAE, mechanical and electrical engineering.