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Washington State News

WSU Vancouver science building price tag rises to $61.6 million

(The Center Square) — Costs for a new life sciences building on Washington State University’s Vancouver campus have risen by $4.5 million due to dramatic increases in the cost of building materials.

The Legislature approved the budget for the three-story, 60,000-square-foot facility in 2018 at $57.1 million. Since then, costs for structural steel and drywall have risen 30%, according to the WSU Government Relations Office, which has driven costs up by about $10 million. After cost-mitigation efforts, including reducing the building height and overall square footage, the current budget stands at $61.6 million.

As a result, an additional $2.2 million was allocated to the project by the Office of Financial Management from its Capital Community Assistance Account, WSU announced in a Sept. 1 statement. Those funds will complete a portion of the building that would otherwise be left unfurnished. The university will also spend up to $4.5 million of its reserve funds to complete the project as planned.

“Based on the request letter and supporting documentation, WSU has already implemented detailed cost reduction and management strategies and this funding is necessary to complete the project as originally scoped,” David Schumacher, director of the Washington State Office of Financial Management, wrote in response to WSU’s request for additional funds, the university said in a statement.

Construction of the instructional and research facility began in November. The building is expected to open in 2024. It will house a lab for biology and chemistry and space for a variety of STEM courses, as well as applied and clinical health programs in biology, chemistry, neuroscience and nursing.

WSU Vancouver is raising funds for the addition of a $10 million greenhouse.

WSU Vancouver, founded in 1989, has an enrollment of 3,200 students. The 350-acre campus is one of six in the Washington State University system.