Multicultural center plans revealed

The design plans and name of a new cultural center said to be open in fall 2017 were revealed in a presentation at the CUB today.

Interim President Dan Bernardo announced that the brainchild of WSU’s former president will be called the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center and will be a place for the students of WSU to come together.

“It’s a project that really reflects the culture of WSU and the character of WSU,” Bernardo said.

Bernardo said the idea of the new center is to be a place of community where students can share the diverse culture of WSU. He added that the steering committee of the project was key in bringing together the opinions of the various constituents of the university into the project.

Alex Rolluda of Rolluda Architects said the process of coming up with the critical design elements started when he met with the steering committee to look at the cultural center at Oregon State University. Rolluda said they met with a lot of staff and students to find out what the center should offer.

One of the things Rolluda said they focused on was creating a space for the different cultures to have their own space while being open to others, which was a big reason for the living room in the middle of the cultural center.

“The main purpose is you don’t lock yourself in the office and you go out and share with other cultures,” Rolluda said.

Mark Sindell, principal of GGLO Design said the design plan includes four “knowledge rooms” that represent the four main cultural groups in Washington (Latino, African-American, Native American and Asian Pacific American). Sindell also said the center will include a commercial kitchen with a demonstration area, a parking lot and a meditation area. Sindell said the design of the roof was meant to represent the Palouse. He said the design was meant to be a non-western approach.

Culturally responsive architectural design lead David Harmon said they tried to honor the Nez Perce in aspects of the design plan among all of the other cultures. Special assistant to the provost and tribal liaison Barbara Aston said they worked with the Nez Perce to assure that they accurately represented their culture.

WSU director of diversity Jeff Guillory said WSU is moving ahead of some of its national peers in terms of creating this space for celebrating both diversities and commonalities.

“This was Floyd’s dream and his dream came to fruition,” Guillory said.

Guillory said the center will be run by Maria de Jesus Dixon.