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December 10, 2014

UW seeking GC/CM for $160M Life Sciences Building in Seattle

Journal Staff Reporter

Image courtesy of Perkins+Will [enlarge]
A 20,000-square-foot greenhouse will be built along the Burke-Gilman Trail.

The University of Washington plans to start construction in July 2016 on a 169,000-square-foot Life Sciences Building that is primarily for the biology department.

It will be on UW's Seattle campus between Northeast Pacific Street and Stevens Way, just east of Kincaid Hall. A 20,000-square-foot greenhouse will be built adjacent to the building and the Burke-Gilman Trail.

Perkins+Will is the architect and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol is the landscape architect.

The UW said construction is expected to take about two years.

Proposals are due by Dec. 19 for a general contractor/construction manager, according to a notice in the Nov. 26 DJC. A pre-bid meeting is set for 9 a.m. Thursday in Kincaid Hall.

Troy Stahlecker, project manager for the UW, said the building and greenhouse are expected to cost $160.5 million — $110.6 million of that is for construction.

The UW says the new building will help the department of biology recruit and retain top students and faculty.

It will be five stories and have two basement levels. Stahlecker said there will be offices, a meeting room, growth chambers, imaging facilities, 40 research labs and four undergraduate research/teaching labs.

The project will seek at least a LEED silver rating, he said.

Toby Bradshaw, a professor and chair of the UW Department of Biology, said the new space will improve both teaching and research.

Biology is the largest undergraduate major on campus, with 40 percent of students taking at least the introductory course, he said.

Also, the biology department does research into areas that include climate change, biomechanics and neurobiology.

Bradshaw said the first floor will have space for authentic research experiences for undergraduates, such as making a new discovery or finding an answer to an unsolved problem. For instance, students might be given an unknown gene from an intestinal parasite, and have to discover the gene's function.

The structure will also have growth chambers, which are modest-sized enclosed spaces in which conditions such as light, temperature and humidity, can be controlled for research.

The Life Sciences Building will primarily house the department of biology, but there will also be faculty from other departments, colleges and schools to encourage collaboration “beyond the walls of biology,” Bradshaw said.

He said the greenhouse will aid in teaching and research, and display plant biodiversity for the public, particularly K-12 students and teachers.

Predesign has just finished, and design is expected to start in January.

A greenhouse and small building on the site will be demolished to make way for the project.

ZGF Architects previously did a feasibility study for the project.


Lynn Porter can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.

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