Tech leaders are calling on the Washington Legislature to fund more than a third of the cost of a new computer science building on the University of Washington campus.
Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Zillow: A who’s-who of tech company leaders have written a letter urging the Washington Legislature to fund $40 million of the $110 million cost for building a new computer science and engineering building on the University of Washington campus.
The UW’s fast-growing computer science department has already run out of room in its 11-year-old building, the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering. Securing the money to build a second building is one of the university’s priorities for the current legislative session, said provost and soon-to-be interim president Ana Mari Cauce during a campus-wide meeting Tuesday.
The $40 million was included in Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed capital projects budget, but that’s no guarantee that the state Legislature will OK it. However, the Legislature has shown strong support in the past for programs that build up the state’s tech economy. The rest of the construction cost, or $70 million, would be raised privately.
The letter was signed by executives from 23 Washington-based tech companies or companies that have offices here, and included an endorsement by Microsoft vice president Brad Smith and Amazon senior vice president David Zapolsky.
“Please help us make sure Washington state continues to maintain its place at the forefront of the computer science industry and sets a strong base for future growth by ensuring UW can continue to produce the graduates we need,” the letter reads.
UW officials have said that the new building would allow the UW to double the number of degrees it awards annually in computer science and engineering — from 300 to 600 — provided the state also provides extra funding to help covering the costs of training those students.