New health sciences building at CWU created to better prepare students for healthcare careers

ELLENSBURG, WA – Central Washington University showed off its new health sciences building Friday afternoon in a ribbon cutting ceremony. The new building houses the latest health science technology and centralizes learning to better prepare students for their future jobs.

This building has been a 12 year project in the making. State legislatures like Senator Jim Honeyford and Representative Alex Ybarra worked in Olympia to help secure funding for the project. The project cost a total of $120.5 million. As a CWU Alum, for Ybarra, this project was personal.

Ybarra was working on a farm in Quincy when he realized he wanted to continue his education. He attended CWU and connected with a math professor that was able to give him a pathway to follow in order find a job quickly. After graduating, Ybarra found work as a rocket scientist in Redmond. He said the hands on learning at Central is everything.

“I think there’s a lot of students like me that need something that they can sink their teeth into,” Ybarra said. “You can do all the book reading you want but that’s not going to teach you how things work.”

CWU President Jim Wohlpart said he’s glad the legislatures saw the need for this building on the Ellensburg Campus. He believes the location of this building is essential to improving the healthcare needs in Central Washington. Wohlpart also said this building better prepares students to fill healthcare needs.

“[There] is equipment that is used in industry right now, so when our students graduate, they will be add value day one any place they get hired,” Wohlpart said.

Graduate Student in the Health Sciences Department Chicena Mortimer said having technology, like ultrasound equipment on campus, will be beneficial for student learning. In fact, Mortimer wouldn’t be able to write her thesis and conduct research without it.

“Hands experience for me is everything, I’m a hands on learner,” Mortimer said.

She added that it would help better prepare her for her job after college.

“We’re more suited to take care and help people,” Mortimer said.

Some of the new features of the building include 95 solar panels to improve energy consumption, low emitting paint and adhesives to improve air quality and study areas.

As far as new technology, there’s an environmental chamber where students can experience different climates and elevations, a water pod and body pod to measure body mass index and several other technological advances.

This building helped complete the health sciences “neighborhood” the university was building. This “neighborhood” includes the Discovery Lab and the new science buildings. President Wohlport said the next step for the university is to access all their programs within the Health Sciences Department to see how they can better fill the needs in our state.

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