Eastern Washington University will move three degree programs and around 1,000 students from its Cheney campus to a new building in downtown Spokane's University District.
Construction of the five-story, 150,000-square-foot building is scheduled to begin in September, with completion expected in April 2020.
The Spokesman-Review reported Wednesday that the building will rise at the south landing of the U-District pedestrian bridge, which is being built over the rail corridor that cuts through the area.
Details are still being worked out, but the university plans to move all or parts of its computer science, electrical engineering and visual communication design programs to the new site, along with 40 to 50 faculty members.
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Eastern Washington already enrolls 3,000 students at the downtown campus, which the school president says is at capacity.
The lot is owned by Avista Development, a subsidiary of utility Avista Corp.
The $50 million building will feature environmentally friendly materials such as cross-laminated timbers. That strong wood product will be produced by California-based Katerra's new factory in Spokane Valley. The timbers are made from compressed layers of wood scraps and can replace steel and concrete in taller buildings.
Eastern Washington University president Mary Cullinan said she jumped at the opportunity to become the anchor tenant.
The Cheney-based university has nearly twice as many students in downtown Spokane as the higher-profile Washington State University branch that it shares a campus with. Washington State operates nursing and pharmacy programs and its new medical school on the Spokane campus.
The three programs that Eastern is moving to the new building are part of EWU's College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, which officials say is growing faster than any other part of the university.
David Bowman, dean of the college, said it granted 200 degrees last year, up from 125 in 2012.
"The STEM fields are growing because the region's STEM workforce is growing," said EWU Provost Scott Gordon.