More than 150 people attend a ribbon cutting event on Nov. 16, 2023 celebrating the completion of Innovation Hall at the University of Washington Bothell and Cascadia College campus. The building, which highlights STEM instruction and research, opens to students in January. Credit: Tara Brown Photography/UW Bothell

More than 150 people attend a ribbon cutting event on Nov. 16, 2023 celebrating the completion of Innovation Hall at the University of Washington Bothell and Cascadia College campus. The building, which highlights STEM instruction and research, opens to students in January. Credit: Tara Brown Photography/UW Bothell

New science, math facility opens in January at UW Bothell

Innovation Hall is the first new building to be constructed at the Bothell university campus in 10 years.

BOTHELL — Innovation Hall, a new $79 million building dedicated to the pursuit of science and math, will open at the University of Washington Bothell and Cascadia College campus in January.

The 80,000-square-foot facility is the first building to be constructed at the campus in a decade.

Its completion signals a significant expansion in the STEM field — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — at Cascadia and UW Bothell, officials said.

UW Bothell and Cascadia College will share the facility, which includes 21,500 square feet of space of classroom space and laboratories for each institution and an additional 5,000 square feet of shared space.

More than 150 faculty, staff and students attended Innovation Hall’s official unveiling on Nov. 16. The facility will begin serving students in January.

“I’m truly proud of our state — donors, taxpayers and elected officials — who have supported Washington’s investments in innovation and STEM education,” UW president Ana Mari Cauce told the gathering.

In 2019, UW Bothell and Cascadia College each received $40 million in state funding for a new STEM facility. The money was meant to fund two separate buildings.

But rising construction costs and other factors led the two institutions to join forces.

“This collaboration with Cascadia College is a game-changer for students at both of our institutions,” Leslie Cornick, dean of UW Bothell’s School of STEM told the gathering.

“Highly skilled jobs in STEM industries provide UW Bothell and Cascadia College graduates with career opportunities that can change their lives, their families and our communities,” Cornick said.

Many Cascadia students transfer to UW Bothell and earn a four-year degree from the university. Biology, chemistry, computer science, physics and electrical and mechanical engineering are among the degree offerings.

Innovation Hall gives them a headstart and the chance to rub shoulders with UW Bothell students, said Kristina Young, dean for Student Learning at Cascadia College.

Entrance to the new Innovation Hall at the University of Washington Bothell and Cascadia College campus is festooned with balloons on Nov. 16, 2023. (Tara Brown Photography / UW Bothell)

Entrance to the new Innovation Hall at the University of Washington Bothell and Cascadia College campus is festooned with balloons on Nov. 16, 2023. (Tara Brown Photography / UW Bothell)

“Cascadia students will have the opportunity to interact with their peers and see themselves continuing their education at UW Bothell,” Young said. “By engaging with faculty and staff from both institutions, students will expand their horizons and connections.”

Alex Margarito-Lopez, a Cascadia College graduate, received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and his master’s in education at the UW in Seattle.

“I loved high school science but always thought that the STEM fields were reserved for white people,” he said. “I didn’t have a teacher of color in high school. It wasn’t until I got to Cascadia College and had professors who looked like me that I developed enough confidence to enroll in science courses and pursue a career in chemistry.”

Today, Margarito-Lopez teaches chemistry at Juanita High School in Kirkland.

“Now I am that teacher of color, breaking down barriers and showing students that they do belong and can succeed in STEM careers,” he said.

UW Bothell is one of five branch campus created by lawmakers in 1989. UW Tacoma and three branches for Washington State University in Vancouver, Spokane and the Tri-Cities were also approved.

Cascadia College was established by the state Legislature in 2000 to serve the higher education needs of northeast King and south Snohomish counties.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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