$15 M project to expand art museum


The Museum of Art (left) will expand into the Public Safety Building (right) to provide more space for art galleries.

From staff reports

The Board of Regents approved a $15 million project to create a new art gallery building as an expansion to the Art Museum during its meeting on March 26.

Construction is anticipated to begin in fall 2016 and be complete by fall 2017, said Project Manager Kelly Keane.

Donors will contribute almost $13 million to the project. The remainder will be funded locally.

Christopher Bruce, director of the Museum of Art since 2003, said it has been a goal of his since his move to WSU.

“The presence of art on this campus is important,” Bruce said. “There are athletic facilities, a student union, libraries and academic buildings, but no signature building that states the idea of art and culture.”

The museum plans to take over the current public safety building located across from Martin Stadium. The police and fire departments will locate to a new building on Grimes way this summer, Keane said.

Bruce said the new building will include five different-sized galleries which will provide students with more opportunities to find art that connects with them personally.

“Art expands perceptions, helps students to see others point of view and enter a world completely created by someone else,” Bruce said. “It also increases our empathy and compassion.”

Keane said WSU has engaged the design services of Olson Kundig Architects, which frequently constructs museums.

Olson Kundig, a Seattle-based design firm, focuses on the idea that buildings can serve as a bridge between nature, culture and people, and that inspiring surroundings have a positive effect on people’s lives, according to their website.

“We hope to create a stunning piece of modern architecture that will create a sense of discovery and exploration,” Bruce said.

Reporting by Hannah Welzbacker

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with clarifying information.