Center for Health Sciences to Get Underway in May

March 11, 2010

TACOMA, Wash. – University of Puget Sound announced today it will begin construction of the Center for Health Sciences at the south end of campus in May 2010. The 42,500-square-foot interdisciplinary center is expected to open in time for the fall 2011 school semester.

Building on University of Puget Sound’s liberal arts tradition and commitment to interdisciplinary education, the Center for Health Sciences will provide an educational environment believed to be unique among national liberal arts colleges in the country. Teaching and research in the undergraduate disciplines of psychology and exercise science will benefit from proximity to clinical graduate studies in occupational and physical therapy, and a new undergraduate program in neuroscience.

“The Center for Health Sciences is a centerpiece of Puget Sound’s master plan, which is driven by our strategic goals of creating an inspiring campus environment that enhances a rigorous academic program, innovative teaching, groundbreaking research, and an engaging residential experience,” said President Ronald R. Thomas. “The center is designed to do nothing less than prepare students for lifetimes of leadership in the dynamic fields of the health and behavioral sciences, and to strengthen our commitment to service in the local community.”

Key features of the center include outpatient clinics for the 300 patients referred for occupational and physical therapy services each year by local physicians. A 6,000-square-foot outdoor mobility park will allow patients to be assessed and rehabilitated in spaces fitted with ramps, curbs, stairs, and other potential barriers. An indoor simulated apartment will give patients a place to practice the activities of daily living. The clinics are an important part of the community’s health care network, and provide students with opportunities to put theory and skills into practice. Puget Sound is among the leading colleges in the Pacific Northwest for the placement of occupational and physical therapists.

Overall the center will be equipped to meet the needs of 21st-century health sciences research and study. In addition to classrooms, offices, and neurology, orthopedic, pediatric, and outpatient clinics, it will house a motion analysis lab, biochemistry wet lab, observation suite, exercise physiology lab, and a social sciences computer lab.

The four-level center will be built to meet the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, using sustainable materials and adhering to stringent environmental guidelines. Individuals and foundations who have generously contributed to the center to date include Carl and Renee Behnke, the Ben B. Cheney Foundation, Eric and Hollis Dillon '84, J.D. '88, Robert and Rebecca Pohlad P’07 and the Pohlad Family Foundation, and Guy and Audrey Watanabe.

The facility will be located on the north side of N. 11th Street, across from Memorial Fieldhouse, and between Union Avenue and N. Alder Avenue. It will offer convenient parking and access for clinic patients, particularly those in wheelchairs or with limited mobility. The building design will compliment Puget Sound’s existing Tudor-Gothic buildings, with simple gable roof forms, projecting bay windows, and the use of materials such as brick, terra cotta, copper detailing, and local Wilkeson stone.

The architects are Bohlin Cywinski Jackson of Seattle, Wash. Center for Health Sciences architect Peter Bohlin was recently awarded the AIA Gold Medal, the highest honor conferred by the American Institute of Architects. Examples of his work include Seattle City Hall and the Apple Store on 5th Avenue in New York City. The design team for the project also includes AHBL (civil/structural), WSP Flack & Kurtz (mechanical systems, electrical, plumbing, fire protection), Swift Company (landscaping), and Candela (lighting design). Mortenson Construction of Bellevue, Wash., has completed pre-construction services; Puget Sound is soliciting bids for the construction of the center from selected contractors and expects to name a contractor in April.

More information on the Center for Health Sciences is available at

Visit the Architectural Renderings page for drawings.

Press-quality images of the proposed Center for Health Sciences can be downloaded from: Press Photos - University of Puget Sound. More internal and external photos are available on request.

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