University of Washington School of Medicine Gonzaga Regional Health Partnership Announcement

With gratitude and excitement, I am writing to share some important news today. This afternoon, The University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSOM), Gonzaga University, and McKinstry have jointly announced plans for construction of a new facility for medical and health sciences education, innovation and research.Through a creative public-private collaboration, the UW-GU Regional Health Partnership (RHP) is taking a significant step forward in our shared commitment to continue preparing the next generation of health care professionals in Spokane, and to better meet the needs of our own growing academic programs as well.

McKinstry – a leading-edge developer of sustainable, high-performance facilities will develop, design, build and manage the four-story, 80,000-square-foot building to be constructed at 840 E. Spokane Falls Blvd., the southwest corner of Hamilton and Spokane Falls. This facility is adjacent to Gonzaga’s parking area at the same location. Both the University of Washington and Gonzaga University have committed to agreements for use of space in the estimated $60 million facility for teaching, research and innovation. 

Once complete, Gonzaga’s Department of Human Physiology will relocate to the new facility, along with UWSOM’s Foundations Phase – the first eighteen months of medical education – and the MEDEX Northwest physician assistant education program, currently taught in the Schoenberg Center. Our students and faculty will have access to state-of-the-art teaching classrooms, anatomy labs, research and innovation centers, and study spaces.  We will have room to grow existing and new health-related programs, and to embark on shared research projects and initiatives. 

In addition to the new facility, McKinstry is planning to make its historic and award-winning Spokane Inland Empire Railroad (SIERR) building part of the health care innovation cluster, offering an additional 57,000 square feet for health science and medical industry leaders, startups and nonprofit enterprises to work beside academe in new and exciting ways.

This past April, our Board of Trustees approved the University’s role as co-developer of the project.The facility is made possible through the use of our adjacent parking facilities, and we have led the development of feasibility studies and analyses that enabled McKinstry CEO Dean Allen, together with community leaders such as current Trustee and former Chair Scott Morris, CEO of AVISTA, to realize a vision of a life sciences industry cluster here in Spokane.  This privately-funded project leverages and expands the public-private partnership we established with UW in 2016 in ways that reduce risk, expedite completion and save taxpayers additional capital expense. It provides much-needed space for our growing academic programs and offers potential access to UW-led research for our undergraduates and faculty.

Higher education institutions today are being challenged to find creative and cost-effective ways of accomplishing their various missions.  In this context, we are honored and excited to work with trusted partners – themselves dedicated to excellence in their endeavors – in new and innovative ways to achieve our shared goals. With new academic leadership in place on our campus, construction of the Integrated Science & Engineering facility about to begin, and this new health education and research facility, Gonzaga continues to work toward providing high quality facilities in support of our academic programs, and to underscore our key role in serving the Spokane community, and the people of the Pacific Northwest.

I am grateful to the many individuals and teams who have worked diligently to embrace this opportunity with creativity and inventiveness. In particular I wish to thank my colleague, President Ana Mari Cauce of the University of Washington; Dean Paul Ramsey, CEO UW Medicine and all of our colleagues at UW Medicine; Dean Allen of McKinstry; Dr. Courtney Law, Director of the RHP; Mike Wilson, Chair of the RHP Advisory Board; Chief of Staff John Sklut; Chief Strategy Officer Chuck Murphy. I want to extend special thanks to all Gonzaga faculty who have been involved with the RHP, and our own Board of Trustees for their support of our involvement with this project. Together, we look forward to welcoming everyone to the upcoming ground-breaking next spring, and the opening of this new building in August 2022.

Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil., President
September 9, 2019