Demolition has begun on a project to renovate Western Washington University’s Sam Carver Gymnasium, home for the Vikings sports teams as well as classes and labs.
The full cost of the construction project has been estimated at $73 million and is scheduled to be completed by spring 2017, said WWU spokesman Paul Cocke. While the project has been in the planning stage for nearly a decade, the state Legislature provided $70 million in its capital budget during the 2015 session. Western will need to pay back $6 million over a time frame yet to be determined.
In addition to the athletic activities held there, more than 300 classes and labs are taught in the building each year, according to the school.
The current facility does not meet earthquake requirements. Piping failures have dumped thousands of gallons of raw sewage underneath the building, and many mechanical systems have shut down, according to the university.
The renovation will add seismic reinforcement, replace aging systems, and improve access for the disabled. It also will add classrooms for the university’s physical education, health and recreation program, the largest and fastest-growing academic department at Western, Cocke said.