A 300,000-square-foot building to house the University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative will be built along 15th Avenue Northeast.

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A $230 million center for the study of population health will occupy a swath of the University of Washington campus along 15th Avenue Northeast just south of the 40th Street campus entrance, the UW’s regents board decided Thursday.

The 300,000-square-foot building will be north of the physics and astronomy building, and will require taking down three small wood-frame buildings known as the Guthrie annexes. The building will be between four and six stories tall.

The chosen site was one of three under consideration. When the building is finished, it will be one of the largest on that end of campus.

The lion’s share of the cost is being paid with a $210 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The building will house many of the players in the UW’s Population Health Initiative, an effort with the ambitious goal of improving the health of all the world’s people.

Construction is expected to start in mid-2018, and the building would be finished in spring of 2020.

UW planners said the site “offers the opportunity for a dynamic building, simultaneously grounded on the campus and outward-looking — a metaphor for the Population Health Initiative.”

The center will join three other high-profile building projects on the Seattle campus. Also under construction: a new Burke Museum on 15th Avenue Northeast at the intersection with Northeast 45th Street; a new biology building across from the Magnuson Health Sciences Center; and a new computer science building across from the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering.

The university also is building new residence halls on the northeast corner of campus, along Northeast 45th Street. And it is putting the finishing touches on an underground animal-research lab next to Foege Hall.