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WWU completes construction work on one project, has several more on tap

Time-lapse video records construction of WWU multicultural center

Construction crews finish the main portion of the Multicultural Center at the Viking Union/book store complex at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., in June 2019.
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Construction crews finish the main portion of the Multicultural Center at the Viking Union/book store complex at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., in June 2019.

Western Washington University can check one project off its list of what will be a busy year for construction.

Earlier this month construction crews finished the main portion of the multicultural center at the Viking Union/book store complex. The $20 million project will create a new home for the Ethnic Student Center and other programs, according to Western’s website.

There was a soft opening in June, but with most of the students gone for summer break an official opening won’t take place until the fall, said Paul Cocke, Western communications director, in an email.

During construction, the book store has been operating in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room. It is scheduled to be in its new space on Monday, July 8. Once the book store has moved, work will begin on the multipurpose room.

Funding for the project came from a $30 per quarter fee students approved in 2016, Associated Students’ reserve funds, the university and existing Viking Union bonds, according to Cocke.

Coming up are two major university construction projects: A revamped residence hall and a new science building. Construction of the residence hall is expected to start later this year, while the science building project is expected to start in January.

A new academic support facility that was slated to start this year has been put on hold for now because of funding issues, Cocke said. It was not funded by the state legislature this past session, so the university is looking at some self-finance options.

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Dave Gallagher has covered the Whatcom County business community since 1998. Retail, real estate, jobs and port redevelopment are among the topics he covers.
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