Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

April 6, 2001

Whitworth Selects Architects for New Academic Building

3E Design Group of Spokane, working with a nationally recognized firm that specializes in college and university architecture, has been selected as the architectural design firm for Whitworth's new academic building. Construction on the $6.5 million project is scheduled to begin in late spring 2002 with classes to be housed in the building the following fall.

Steve Thompson, Whitworth's director of facilities, said the college's architect-selection committee was impressed with 3E's design credentials and with the firm's proposed collaboration with Sasaki Associates, which has designed more than 300 projects on college and university campuses nationwide.

"3E is a very capable, detail-oriented architectural firm, but what set their proposal apart is that they brought in Sasaki Associates and their wealth of design experience with liberal arts colleges across the country," Thompson said. "Sasaki has a proven record for designing signature buildings that reflect the culture and environment of the college campuses where they're located, while 3E brings a solid background of successful construction projects in Spokane and the Northwest."

Sasaki will provide the conceptual design for the new building. As lead design firm on the project, 3E will develop the construction working drawings and will oversee the construction process.

Whitworth has invested $27 million in campus improvements over the past seven years, including renovation and expansion of the library, construction of a new student center and dining hall, major upgrades to the science center and main classroom building and new athletics and fitness facilities. The new academic building will occupy one of the last open spaces on the college's main campus loop and will provide technologically advanced teaching and learning spaces for Whitworth's students and faculty.

The 30,000-square-foot building will house up to 12 classrooms and 26 faculty offices as well as a 250-seat teaching theatre for larger classes and public events. In an effort to integrate the college's liberal arts traditions with real-world applications, the building will be home to the departments of politics & history and religion & philosophy as well as the School of Global Commerce and Management and the Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith and Learning. In addition, it will provide much-needed public space for college events, exhibits and community outreach activities related to Whitworth's initiative to reduce poverty in the region.

"It is exciting to imagine the possibilities and a challenge to design a building which symbolizes the strengths of Whitworth's academic programs," says Tammy Reid, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. "Each time I walk into the soaring atrium of our new student union building, I'm reminded of how powerfully physical space can affect and enhance student experiences. My ideal of a new academic building is that it will be a space which invites the mind to soar."

The academic building is the centerpiece of Whitworth's $50 million Faith in the Future Campaign. More than $45 million has been raised or pledged so far during the campaign, including $2.2 million for the academic building. Securing the balance needed for the project is the top priority for the remaining 15 months of the campaign, according to Vice President for Institutional Advancement Kristi Burns.

"There are a number of significant proposals under consideration by individuals, foundations, and funding organizations who believe in Whitworth's mission of providing a first-class education of the mind and heart," Burns says. "Generous donors are stepping forward to advance Whitworth's mission by supporting this state-of-the-art academic facility that will dramatically enhance the learning experience of our students."

3E Design Group, headquartered in downtown Spokane, was founded by Larry Chalmers and Gary Connor in 1976 and provides a full range of architectural services to clients throughout the United States. Sasaki Associates, with offices in San Francisco and the Boston area, was founded in 1953 by Hideo Sasaki, a national leader in landscape architecture and urban design. Pioneering an interdisciplinary approach to planning and design, Sasaki Associates specializes in college and university architecture and has completed more than 300 projects on campuses nationwide.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The college enrolls 2,000 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Steve Thompson, director of facilities, (509) 777-4460 or sthompson@whitworth.edu.

Greg Orwig, director of communications, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

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