Wednesday, May 24, 2017 This Week's Paper

UPS breaks ground on Center for Health Sciences

A building that will be the future home of health sciences programs at the University of Puget Sound (UPS) is under construction. It marks a major milestone for the institution.

A groundbreaking ceremony was recently held for the facility, which will be built on vacant land adjacent to Baker Stadium.

The centerpiece of the university's 20-year master plan for campus development, Center for Health Sciences will house four areas of study and research: the undergraduate departments of exercise science and psychology, and graduate programs in occupational and physical therapy. It will also be home to the new interdisciplinary neuroscience program. The occupational and physical therapy clinics, which provide free health care to more than 300 people a year, will also operate in the building.

The 42,500-square-foot building will cost $22 million to build and is scheduled to open in fall 2011.

The center, designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, will be built to meet the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, using sustainable materials and adhering to stringent environmental guidelines.

Ray Calabro from the Seattle firm said the building will tie together the north and south sections of the campus.

"It will be a great gathering space on campus," he said. "This building will become part of the lasting legacy that is the University of Puget Sound."

"The Center for Health Sciences will bring new opportunities for interdisciplinary study, research, and clinical work in a combination not seen at any other liberal arts college in the nation," UPS President Ronald Thomas said.

State Senator Debbie Regala and former Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma are UPS alumni who are glad that plans for this facility have finally come to fruition.

Baarsma said when he attended UPS from 1964-68 there was talk of building such a facility. It will replace some temporary buildings that were showing their age even when he was a student.

"Finally it is happening," Baarsma said.

He feels it could create the potential for UPS to offer doctorate degrees in some of the health sciences. It fits in well with goals of the city government to make Tacoma a center for biotechnology.

"This is the right plan and it is a great time for it."

Regala attended UPS from 1963-68. She remembers that even back then university officials spoke of the need to replace the temporary buildings. She lives across the street from UPS and will be able to closely observe the construction.

She has had the opportunity to meet with students in the programs that will be housed in the new facility. Regala is pleased that the clinics will have a modern home.

"I am really thrilled. What a wonderful opportunity for the university to reach out to the community in this way."