Work begins on Carver overhaul

During construction, new WWU graduates will walk across the stage in the Performing Arts Center or Civic Field
Carver under construction. Photo by Matthew Anderson

While Carver Academic Facility is closed for a much-needed renovation, new WWU graduates can expect to walk across the stage in the Performing Arts Center or even Civic Field for the next few Commencement ceremonies. Intercollegiate basketball and other games will be at Whatcom Community College.

Carver’s two-year upgrade began this summer soon after the state Legislature passed the 2015-17 state capital budget, which included $70 million for the project. Workers will replace the center section of the building with a three-story addition and wrap the east and south sides with new structure and glass windows.

The project will address urgently needed seismic reinforcement throughout the building, replace many aging building systems and provide improved disabled access to classrooms, labs and offices. The renovation will also provide classrooms and lab spaces for several departments, including Health and Human Development (previously known as Physical Education, Health and Recreation), the largest and fastest-growing academic department at Western.

Carver wasn’t the only bit of good news from the state Legislature this year: The state provided funding to reduce tuition for resident undergraduates by 5 percent in the 2015-16 academic year and by 15 percent in 2016-17. Funding was also made available for a new cybersecurity program in Poulsbo and for raises for Western staff and faculty.

The next few Commencement ceremonies will be held in Western’s Performing Arts Center or Bellingham’s Civic Field. Photo by Dan Levine