TACOMA — The University of Washington Tacoma and the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties announced the design-build team of Mortenson Construction of Kirkland, Wash., and McGranahan Architects of Tacoma received the highest score of three proposals submitted to design and construct the University Y Student Center. Negotiations now begin on a contract to deliver the building designed to serve UW Tacoma students, faculty and staff, Y members and the community.
“The Mortenson-McGranahan team offered a vision for how this student center and recreation facility will add to the architectural and cultural fabric of the campus and the broader community,” said UW Tacoma Chancellor Debra Friedman.
“We can’t wait to build this new community hub to serve UW Tacoma students and our community. Our partnership continues to strengthen as we go through this process,” said the Y’s President and CEO Bob Ecklund.
The proposed 70,238 square foot building has three floors that include areas for cardio, weight training, a gym and an indoor running track, as well as gathering space and offices to serve student activities and house student government. The project could be completed as early as late 2014.
J.D. Terry, a UW Tacoma student who served on the selection team, said, “The selected design proposal exceeds student expectations. It has all the amenities we sought, it provides a space for registered student organizations (RSOs) for the first time, and it will encourage more student collaboration than ever before. Students will now have a place to call ‘home’ on campus.”
In January, UW Tacoma and the Y announced they were entering into an innovative partnership built on the common commitment of both institutions to community advancement. After an extensive process to gain feedback from students, Y members and the community, the concept for the University Y Student Center was refined. In March, a Request for Qualification was issued, and in April three design-build teams entered into discussions with university and Y leadership to develop detailed proposals to design and build the new facility, which included developing preliminary architectural designs and a detailed construction timeline.
The university will fund construction of the building and maintain the exterior shell and landscaping. Operating through a long-term agreement, the Y will administer the recreation and wellness facility, providing exercise equipment and management expertise, as well as maintaining the interior spaces. UW Tacoma and the Y fully collaborated on the concept development and design-build process, tapping into the Y’s extensive experience with designing and building recreational health and wellness facilities.
“Working together, the Y and UW Tacoma will provide so much more than either institution could offer on its own,” said UW Tacoma Chancellor Debra Friedman. “We are proud of this partnership, which will serve as a best-practice model for urban-serving universities like UW Tacoma, and I’m very pleased to see the architect and six of the subcontractors are based in Tacoma.”
“We are excited to deliver the vision for how we can offer health and well-being services on campus,” said the Y’s President and CEO Bob Ecklund. “As we have said from the beginning, healthier students contribute to an overall healthier community.”
Rob Warnaca of Mortenson Construction said, “We are delighted to continue our strong relationship in the Tacoma community and it is especially an honor to design and build a facility that will bridge the campus and its surrounding urban environment.”
Mortenson built the Greater Tacoma Trade and Convention Center and Cheney Stadium and is constructing the Chambers Creek treatment plant expansion in Tacoma. Over the last 25 years the company has built several buildings at UW Seattle including the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering, the Physics/Astronomy Building, the Research and Technology Building and recently completed renovation of Odegaard Library.
“The UW has been a favorable customer and partner to Mortenson for many years. They are strategic in how they approach constructing buildings by encouraging an environment of collaboration with their project teams to maximize the value of every dollar invested for the end-user and the community.”
Marc Gleason with McGranahan Architects said, “We’re ecstatic and honored to be selected for this project. We’re looking forward to supporting the partnership of two incredible institutions to bring about a much-desired fitness and student center. The shared goals and values of both organizations are an incredible framework for success.” McGranahan Architects is located in Tacoma and designed the Cherry Parkes and Mattress Factory building renovations on campus. “The opportunity to build a new facility for UW Tacoma and YMCA while bringing development and vitality to this part of town and campus is amazing,” said Gleason.
The preliminary design of the University Y Student Center features the main entrance to the building at 18th and Market Streets, opening into a 2-story welcome area with a concierge desk. Enclosed spaces such as student offices, lounges and multi-purpose rooms are arrayed toward the
back of the building, while large open areas such as the cardio and weight training bays and the two-story gymnasium line up along the front facing Market Street, opening all three stories to daylight and views that spill through floor-to-ceiling glass walls.
A large assembly room on the third floor provides views of Mt. Rainier, downtown landmarks and the UW Tacoma campus. The recreation facilities include the gymnasium, which can accommodate an NCAA-regulation basketball or volleyball court, or multiple recreational basketball, volleyball or badminton/pickleball courts. The upper perimeter of the gymnasium will feature a running track and additional cardio equipment.
The building’s elevator can be configured to serve as part of an accessible route up the hill from Market St. to Court D without requiring users to enter the building.
Sustainability of design, construction and operation is important to both UW Tacoma and YMCA and is being incorporated into this building from the outset. The building’s design minimizes cost of operations by being flexible and adaptable and by relying on low-cost long-lasting finishes and features such as low-flow plumbing fixtures and LED lighting.
“This building is a tangible example of two Tacoma-based organizations working together to build the social and economic capacity of our city,” said Ecklund.
UW Tacoma is an urban-serving university—presently serving more than 4,000 students—that seeks to build academic programs, expand its physical campus and provide student services through mutually beneficial partnerships with the community.
The Y’s vision is to provide access to balanced health to all by working through collaborations and partnerships. The University YMCA will expand access for the 130,000 people currently served by the Y through healthy living facilities and outreach programs.