UW-GU Health Partnership Celebrates New Academic Home
Students, leaders and dignitaries cut a long ribbon of medical-grade gauze spanning a 22-foot doorway today to mark the opening of the region’s new, state-of-the-art hub for medical and health education, research and innovation, anchored by the University of Washington School of Medicine-Gonzaga University Health Partnership.
“Built upon our deep roots in the Spokane region, this new facility represents one fulfillment of our shared promise to work together to attract, grow and keep the next generations of health-care professionals,” said Thayne M. McCulloh, president of Gonzaga University.
“Expanding our collaboration to include a vital partner – McKinstry’s Emerald Initiative – has resulted in an exceptional new home this collective work to continue.”
The 90,000 square-foot building, located at 840 E. Spokane Falls Blvd., in Spokane’s University District, is the academic home to the UW School of Medicine (UWSOM) Spokane and its 120 first- and second-year students, Gonzaga’s (GU’s) Department of Human Physiology, and more than 500 GU undergraduates in nursing and health sciences, plus faculty and staff. The UW’s MEDEX Northwest physican assistant program delivers instruction to 30+ students in the adjacent SIERR building.
“This new building further strengthens the UW’s commitment to Spokane and our Health Partnership with Gonzaga, and as a nexus for students, faculty, members of the region’s health care and health sciences professions, we are stronger together,” said Ana Mari Cauce, University of Washington president. “Yet the impact will go far beyond its walls as future generations of doctors and healthcare professionals provide excellent care to patients across eastern Washington and beyond.”
UW students began classes in the four-story building in July, and were joined by GU undergraduate students in late August.
“It’s an amazing building,” said Samira Pardakhtim, first-year UW medical student. “I feel like it’s so smartly engineered,” adding that the big rooms and windows, ability to size up and down classrooms, and advanced technology creates a great learning environment.
The building, developed by Emerald Initiative, features modern classrooms, a state-of-the-art anatomy suite, high-tech research labs and integrated administrative offices. It also includes multiple areas for students to gather, from an outdoor rooftop deck to small quiet spaces for collaboration or independent study. Beyond the medical and health science education features, CollinsWoerman, Bouten Construction and McKinstry worked closely together to design and build innovative systems that seamlessly integrate environmental sustainability into the structure and style of the facility.
The ultra-efficient building utilizes an open-loop ground source heat pump system that extracts water from the Spokane aquifer to provide a constant water temperature that the building’s mechanical systems use to heat and cool the building.
"With a 50-year history of excellence in medical education throughout eastern Washington, this world-class health and medical education building will ensure that UW medical students in Spokane have access to an exceptional learning environment and the tools necessary to become the best physicians and leaders of tomorrow."
In addition to being a place where students and faculty collaborate and learn, the building serves a greater purpose — to help advance healthcare research and solutions that will give rural communities better access to affordable, quality care.
The building is part of the Emerald Initiative’s mission to build a healthcare industry cluster in the heart of Spokane. Emerald Initiative, an independently owned affiliate of McKinstry, envisions, develops, owns, and operates commercial real estate and alternative energy infrastructure. The organization seeks to facilitate biomedical research in Spokane to ultimately attract new industries, jobs, and investments to the area.
“We are incredibly proud of this partnership, its commitment to healthcare research and accessibility, and what this building means for the future of health education and innovation in the region,” said, Dean Allen, McKinstry CEO and Emerald Initiative Managing Partner. “This continued investment in Spokane’s health sciences community will help it remain a top source for critical thinking, technology and jobs in the future.”
Developing a state-of-the-art shared facility was one of the aspirations expressed between the two universities when they forged a Health Partnership in 2016 to promote greater health and serve the growing need for more high-quality health care providers. When the Health Partnership was first formed, UWSOM was based in the Schoenberg Center on Gonzaga’s campus.
UW-GU Health Partnership
The University of Washington School of Medicine and Gonzaga University formed a partnership in 2016 to transform the health, well-being and prosperity of the region through medical education and research. With deep roots, a legacy of delivering top-ranked, world-class education and educating students for lives of leadership and service, the partners leverage their strengths as part of a regional network -- WWAMI (Washington [Seattle & Spokane], Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) – to prepare the region’s next generation of health care providers.
About Emerald Initiative
Emerald Initiative envisions, develops, owns and operates commercial real estate and alternative energy infrastructure. We craft creative, technology-enhanced solutions that help our commercial, industrial and institutional clients be resilient in a quickly evolving world. Our boldly sustainable buildings provide a healthy home for our communities, and we focus on projects that make a difference to the people and neighborhoods that they serve. Emerald Initiative takes a long-term view to investing, and we proudly deliver financial returns that are enhanced by our environmental and community outcomes.
McKinstry is a national leader in designing, constructing, operating and maintaining high-performing buildings. From new construction and ongoing operations to adaptive reuse and energy retrofits, the company provides a single point of accountability across the entire building lifecycle. McKinstry focuses on people and outcomes to ensure the built environment serves owners, operators and occupants alike. McKinstry is your trusted partner for the life of your building.