Facilities Services makes way for new buildings

USDA ARS building will house researchers from Crop and Soil Sciences, Plant Pathology, Horticulture departments



WSU Pullman and Vancouver welcome new buildings to their campuses.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen news editor

WSU will remodel or start construction on several buildings to make room for new research facilities and other educational spaces this year. 

Builders broke ground in November for a new life sciences building on the WSU Vancouver campus, which should be finished around September 2023, said Jason Baerlocher, WSU Facilities Services project manager lead. 

Johnson Hall on the Pullman campus will be demolished to make room for a new United States Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Research Service Biosciences building, Baerlocher said. Construction on the ARS building could start as soon as August. 

Clark Hall is being renovated to accommodate people with offices in Johnson Hall who will be relocated during the demolition, Baerlocher said. The new building will house researchers from the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Department of Plant Pathology and Department of Horticulture, as well as researchers from the USDA ARS.

The demolition project will cost about $8 million and is funded through state allocations, he said. The new building will cost about $105 million, which comes from federal funding.

Even though the new building will have fewer square feet than Johnson Hall, Baerlocher said the space will be used more efficiently and with greater concern for energy efficiency. 

“Johnson Hall does have some struggles energy-wise, and there’s not a lot of flexibility in the spaces to … add things, improve things,” he said. “It’s not really conducive to a renovation.”

Facilities Services is focusing on fixing and replacing as much as possible instead of building new facilities, Baerlocher said.

“We have more square footage than we need, but we need to improve the square footage we have,” he said. “Probably for the next few years, you’ll see a lot of internal renovations … fixing the core of campus.”

The Athletics Department is in the fundraising stage of building a new Indoor Practice Facility, which will replace the current “Bubble,” Baerlocher said. Athletics is also raising money for an academic center known as the Champions Complex

The Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture is raising money for new facilities as well, he said. 

WSU finished constructing the baseball program’s Project: Back to Omaha facility and the Global Animal Health Phase 2 building in 2020 and 2021, respectively, Baerlocher said.