The University of Washington broke ground last week on a new building that will become the central offices for academics studying global human health. It’s one of many buildings under construction or being planned for the Seattle campus.
Nearly $1 billion in new construction is underway on the University of Washington’s Seattle campus — buildings that will house population-health experts, biologists, computer scientists, sleeping students and even dinosaur fossils.
On Wednesday, a groundbreaking ceremony kicked off the start of construction for the new Population Health Initiative building, a 290,000-square-foot structure being funded largely by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The building will front on 15th Avenue Northeast, just north of the physics/astronomy building.
The health initiative, started by the university in 2016, brings together a wide range of academic disciplines to study broad trends in human health. It aims to reduce diseases, injuries and health disparities that shorten peoples’ lives, in part by addressing environmental sustainability, especially in communities most likely to be harmed by climate change.
The building brings three different groups together in one facility: the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the Department of Global Health and portions of the School of Public Health.
The building is expected to be finished in March 2020. The Gates Foundation donated $210 million for the project, and the state Legislature has earmarked an additional $15 million. At the time the donation was made, in October 2016, it was the largest single donation the UW had ever received — until the foundation shattered the record again in January 2017 with a $279 million grant to continue and expand the work of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Here are the other buildings under construction, or in the planning stages, on the Seattle campus:
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• The Life Sciences Building, along the Burke-Gilman Trail north of the University of Washington Medical Center, opens in August. The building will include a 20,000-square-foot greenhouse and is being built at a cost of $171 million, funded through tuition dollars.
• The Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science opens in December 2018 across the street from the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering. The $105.5 million building, paid for primarily with individual and corporate donations, will allow the UW to double the number of students who can major in computer science.
• The New Burke, to replace the Burke Museum, opens on 15th Avenue Northeast in December 2019. The new museum will be 60 percent larger than the old building, which has no central air conditioning or climate controls — a poor environment for the natural-history museum’s Native American art collection. Although it’s on the UW campus, the Burke is a state-owned museum, run by the university, and the $79 million building is being funded by private donations and the state tax money.
• New residence halls are under construction on North Campus alongside Northeast 45th Street. The first phase, which will be finished in July, includes the demolition of McCarty Hall and the construction of three new buildings: McCarty, Madrona and Willow halls. The cost is $253 million. The second phase will include a new residence hall on North Campus, the demolition of Haggett Hall and upgrades to Denny Field, and will be finished in July 2021. The cost is $86 million. Residence halls are paid for through student-housing fees.
• Earlier this month, the UW Regents gave the go-ahead for the university to demolish Mackenzie Hall, a 1960s building that had an extensive list of maintenance problems, and replace it with a new building to be known as Founders Hall. Construction on the $70 million building, which is funded by private donors, will begin in January 2020. It will house parts of the Foster School of Business.
In addition to the work happening on the Seattle campus, the UW is completing the next phase of its South Lake Union campus — a 165,000-square-foot research tower that will include the UW’s retina clinic, diabetes institute, urgent care and neighborhood clinic with research labs and offices. That $145 million building will open in November 2018.