Site prep for new Interdisciplinary Science Building begins March 16

Western's new Interdisciplinary Science Building (ISB) will add essential teaching labs and active learning classrooms to meet the growing need for degree programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. Flexible spaces will allow for shared use and greater interaction and collaboration among STEM and non-STEM disciplines, support the Washington state goal of increasing STEM graduates, and reduce barriers to fulfilling completion requirements.

The building is designed to serve as a campus gateway, following campus geometries and shifting dramatically in plan from the lower to upper levels. Shifts in form relate to the tiered levels of the campus and create unique experiences at each level of the building, allowing the structure to harmonize with the updated plaza and the surrounding natural landscape. Natural daylight will enhance the learning environment and be regulated on the southern façade with horizontal shading to provide comfort and energy efficiency while allowing great views out to the campus.

Site preparation for the ISB will begin with the installation of construction fencing on Monday, March 16. The fencing will enclose the field adjacent to the new parking lot and run south from the Biology Building to the access road. The brick path between Biology and Parks Hall will remain open, but the asphalt footpath from Biology to the access road will be closed.

Site development requires the removal of 48 trees, which will be replaced by 56 new trees when landscaping is completed. The types and species of replacement trees will include Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Shore Pine, Vine Maple, Autumn Blazing Maple, and Garry Oak to provide a diverse range of habitat as well as a seasonal aesthetic.

The removed trees will be reused in a variety of ways. Branches and foliage will be chipped and utilized for mulch on campus, and trunks of select trees will be used to create custom benches for the project. Rootwads and lower trunk sections will be used for wetland, creek, marsh, and estuarine species habitat creation, salmon habitat restoration, and bank stabilization in local and regional projects. Tree removal is scheduled for spring break to minimize disruptions to campus.

The project is pursuing a LEED Gold rating by targeting sustainable approaches such as optimizing energy and water usage; reusing materials; managing rainwater; reducing light pollution with dark night and low footcandle lighting; encouraging alternative transportation with electric vehicle charging stations, bicycle facilities, and access to public transportation; and diverting 85% of construction waste from landfills.

map shows location of construction fencing
interior view of lobby and stairs
exterior view of southwest face of the new science building