Pursuing a long-term goal to consolidate its downtown programs near the Riverpoint Campus, Eastern is seeking legislative approval to liquidate the Spokane Higher Education Center at 705 W. First Avenue.
Interim President Brian Levin-Stankevich, at the Board of Trustees meeting on Feb. 3, reported that the legislature has been asked for a proviso in the supplemental budget bill to allow EWU to sell the building, channeling the proceeds into the development of new facilities on or adjacent to the Riverpoint Campus. He said that the response was positive.
While nothing is available or appropriate at this time, he said the university is continuing to seek out a viable “footprint” in that area.
Built by Farm Credit Banks of Spokane in 1969, the building on First Avenue was sold to EWU in 1982.
It was remodeled in 1992, and currently serves about 7,000 students enrolled in 500 classes per year. Approximately one-third of those are graduate students.
Dr. Phil Castille, who chaired the Spokane Strategic Task Force in the fall of 2004, said last week that while there have been inquiries, no buyer has yet been identified for the building.
He said that the development of the adjacent property Ã¢?” an expansion of the Davenport Hotel Ã¢?” may make the property attractive to potential buyers.
The Spokane Strategic Task Force was formed in 2004 to formulate a long-term strategy that would help shape the future of Eastern’s presence downtown.
Castille said that community leadership is in support of the continuing development of the University District downtown, and that, “EWU wants to assist in that development by enhancing and expanding its presence at and around the Riverpoint Campus.”
The university is considering the option to lease the Spokane Center to any potential buyer for continued usage while development at Riverpoint moves forward.