SIERR Building improvements to make room for EWU

Friday, October 21, 2022

(As reported in the Journal of Business by Erica Bullock)

New renovations at the historic SIERR Building, in Spokane’s University District, will add a mix of learning spaces, administrative offices, and student areas for Eastern Washington University’s nursing and communication sciences programs. 

The renovations will cost about $3.3 million, according to building permit information on file with the city of Spokane. Tenant improvements will comprise 23,500 square feet on the first and second floors of the two-story historic building, at 850 E. Spokane Falls Blvd.

The project is similar in scope but larger than the tenant-improvement project for the University of Washington’s Medex Northwest physician assistant and medical programs in the same building, says Patrick Farley, principal at Emerald Initiative LLC, a representative of the building’s owner Great Northern Spokane LLC. Those improvements called for the renovation of 8,200 square feet of space in the building for classrooms, a conference room, offices, and a student lounge.

Donna Bachand, nursing program director for Eastern, says the nursing program will occupy more than 17,000 square feet of space in the building.

She says a new skills laboratory will be constructed for nursing students to practice their technical skills.

“There will also be two simulation spaces, a control room, debriefing rooms, and everything we need to run a state-of-the-art simulation program,” Bachand says. 

Farley says construction is expected to begin in November and wrap up in July.

Bouten Construction Co., of Spokane, is the contractor, and CollinsWoerman Co., of Seattle, is the project architect. Bouten and CollinsWoerman also had teamed up on the UW renovation project.

EWU will join current tenants, including UW, Spokane-based software development company Gestalt Diagnostics LLC, and the Spokane office of Coeur d’Alene-based Architects West Inc.

“It’s a great location for me because of its proximity to the University District,” Bachand says. “I’m hoping that will offer the potential for collaboration among universities as well.”