Health Education Investment Aimed at Academics, Athletics

On the same day CWU unveiled its new Health Sciences facility, the university also celebrated the groundbreaking of its latest capital investment known as the Health Education Project.

The $60.5 million construction effort, funded by the state Legislature and private donors—including Jean and Joe Adams—features renovations of aging Nicholson Pavilion and Purser Hall, plus classroom upgrades, additional meeting spaces, an expanded fieldhouse, two new weight-training areas, and the construction of a lobby/vestibule area for the pavilion.

The dual ceremonies on April 29 welcomed state Senator Jim Honeyford and state Representative Alex Ybarra—both CWU alums—along with President-Emeritus Jim Gaudino, who helped develop the vision for the university’s long-term investment in health education.

The project is slated for completion by the fall of 2023, but some of the office and classroom spaces completed during phase one could be in use later this year.

“These two projects are part of the future of Central Washington University that will allow us to meet the needs of the state for health care professionals and health education specialists,” CWU President Jim Wohlpart said.

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One of the overarching goals of the north campus facilities upgrade is to provide faculty and students in the Department of Sport and Movement Studies (SAMS) with the resources they need for 21st century instruction and development. Many of the current K-12 health and physical education teachers statewide have received their training at Central.

In addition to having larger, modernized office and classroom spaces, the department will be able to take advantage of a dedicated weight room that will be used only for academic disciplines. The Dance and Physical Education Teaching programs also have been gaining momentum in recent years, while the Northwest Center for Sport is training more sport management professionals every year.

“This project will address our aging facilities and provide us with the modern technology our department and Athletics need to grow,” SAMS co-chair Brian McGladrey said. “One of the benefits of this project is we will be left with our own spaces. But we will continue to work together to manage the facilities so we can meet both of our needs.”

The faculty believes the revamped north campus will enhance CWU’s reputation as a top higher-education destination on the West Coast. The new facilities are expected to provide added incentive for students, athletes, and faculty to consider coming to Central.

“One of the big things for us is that this facility, when it’s done, will allow us to have some separation so our programs can continue to grow,” SAMS co-chair Rory Weishaar said. “Each of these new spaces should also help with retention and program growth.”

Another goal of the project is to transform Nicholson Pavilion—built in 1959—into a state-of-the-art venue that can host large gatherings, such as commencement ceremonies, youth sports tournaments, and community events.

“This shared facility will have a significant impact on the academic experience of our students and faculty, as well as the student-athlete experience in everyday practice, training, and competition,” CWU Athletic Director Dennis Francois said.

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