Weyerhaeuser Hall—A Step into the Future for Health Sciences

August 30, 2011


The new center for health sciences opens for the fall term

 Special dedication ceremony is Oct. 28, at 5 p.m.


TACOMA, Wash. – Students from across a range of health-related sciences at University of Puget Sound are starting their new college year in an impressive new building, the William T. and Gail T. Weyerhaeuser Center for Health Sciences.

Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and designed to encourage collaboration across the sciences, Weyerhaeuser Hall is not just a building—it is home to a new way of thinking in the physiological and behavioral sciences.

Young health scientists no longer have to be loners experimenting in the laboratory or attending to a patient’s sore knee. As practiced social media communicators and collaborators, they expect to be part of the new teams of health scientists who find solutions that fuse disparate ideas and knowledge across specialties that may include physical therapy, rehabilitative medicine, psychology, or neuroscience.

Weyerhaeuser Hall gives them that opportunity. Designed by American Institute of Architects Gold Medal winner Peter Bohlin, of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the 42,500-square-foot building brings together students and professors from Puget Sound’s graduate clinical programs in physical therapy and occupational therapy, with those in the undergraduate disciplines of exercise science and psychology, as well as the interdisciplinary neuroscience program. The mix of academic, research, and clinical studies, combining graduate and undergraduate students, is believed to make the center unique for an American liberal arts college.

Each class will pursue its specialized studies in depth. But the opportunities to exchange ideas and collaborate on research to crack some of the tougher questions about human health will be greatly enhanced in this arrangement. The many shared laboratories, light-filled atrium, and “lean-on-me” handrails in the hallways offer numerous gathering spaces and encourage such exchanges. The public clinics, which serve approximately 300 referred patients a year in fields ranging from orthopedics to pediatrics, provide an additional point of collaboration for occupational therapy and physical therapy.

The $21 million center was named to recognize the lifetime of commitment and leadership offered by Puget Sound trustee Bill Weyerhaeuser and his wife, Gail. The Weyerhaeuser Hall Grand Opening and Dedication will be held Friday, Oct. 28, at 5 p.m. Prior to that there will be a September press tour (see below).

“Weyerhaeuser Hall provides our students and professors with a fresh, inspiring, and highly creative environment in which to continue their pursuit of rigorous academic study and groundbreaking research in the health and behavioral sciences,” said President Ronald R. Thomas. “For our local community, it means clinical services enhanced by cutting-edge technology and welcoming spaces, and for other colleges like ours, it offers a model of leadership and innovation in the health sciences.”

This summer five Puget Sound students discovered just how rewarding it can be to work across health science disciplines. Professor of Physical Therapy Roger Allen was serving as an advisor on research conducted by three physical therapy students and a neuroscience student. The students borrowed ideas from both sciences, proved a thesis related to muscle tension and body awareness through experimentation, and in June were awarded an international research prize at World Physical Therapy 2011, a congress hosted by the World Confederation for Physical Therapy in Amsterdam. They were one of only three American research groups and 28 groups worldwide to receive an award, out of a total of 1,800 presentations.

Weyerhaeuser Hall, located at the south end of campus on North 11th Street, across from Memorial Fieldhouse, promises to create more stories of success. The building, the centerpiece of Puget Sound’s master plan, includes:

  • four levels and a three-story grand atrium, totaling 42,500 square feet in size
  • outdoor mobility park with curbs, ramps, and stairs for clinic patient therapy work
  • six laboratories, including: motion analysis, animal learning, wet lab and surgery, exercise physiology, observation, and a computer–based research suite
  • six clinics, including a model “apartment” for patients to practice indoor living skills
  • classrooms, faculty offices, computer labs, and meeting rooms
  • geothermal heating, including 32 miles of tubes under the floors
  • “universal design” of doors, sinks, and counters, to accommodate people with special needs

Architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson of Seattle, Wash., went to great lengths to preserve the Tudor-Gothic beauty of the Puget Sound campus in a modern building and to meet the needs of five sciences and public clients, all while designing Weyerhaeuser Hall to meet or exceed LEED Silver standards.

They drove to a Mount Rainier quarry to pick out local Wilkeson sandstone, created simple gable roof forms and projecting bay windows, and positioned the building site to preserve a grove of trees. They also created two grand entrances, east and west, on two levels, so that public clients can conveniently park near one door and retain their privacy, while students enter through the other door, in a setting of fir trees, walkways, and green landscaping.

Individuals and foundations who generously contributed to the center include Carl and Renee Behnke, the Ben B. Cheney Foundation, Eric and Hollis Dillon ’84, J.D.’88, the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation, Robert and Rebecca Pohlad P’77, and the Pohlad Family Foundation.

Photos are available upon request or can be downloaded from: www.pugetsound.edu/pressphotos
For more
about Weyerhaeuser Hall visit: www.pugetsound.edu/chs

For press tour (Monday, Sept. 19) queries: Shirley Skeel, 253.879.2611, sskeel@pugetsound.edu
For a press kit on Weyerhaeuser Hall visit: For Journalists

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