By: Frank McNeilly
The University Advancement program is brainstorming an idea for a new structure that, if approved, will feature new student services, academic support and athletic support.
Michael Westfall, vice president for university advancement and foundation executive director, is figuring out the plans for the project.
“Right now we’re in the brainstorming phase of what [Gateway] can potentially look like,” Westfall said. “We’re trying to get a handle on what the size of the footprint could be and we’re still discussing the various program initiatives that can potentially go into a building.”
Project Gateway got it’s name because of the all the possible purposes it can serve.
“It’s the gateway project,” Westfall said. “It’s not an athletic project [and] It’s not an academic project. Whatever we [decide] will be mixed use.”
According to Westfall, the project does not have an official location at this point but several locations are being taken into consideration.
The development of a project has to be beneficial for students at Eastern.
“The mission of the EWU foundation is to contribute to the mission of Eastern,” Westfall said. “For example, we would not open up a chain of bars and dance clubs right next to campus. … Whatever we do has to be vetted by both the foundation … and the board of trustees.”
If either the foundation or the board of trustees does not approve of a project, then the project is immediately discarded.
According to Westfall, if the ideas come together for Project Gateway, then it will be presented at the next board of trustees meeting on March 23. The meeting will not approve the project, but the board of trustees at that time would consider it.
“If we continue to get [approvals at that time], … hopefully in the summer time-frame we might be able to get approval for this project,” Westfall said.
Dave Meany, media relations director, helps write campaign initiatives for projects like Project Gateway. Campaign initiatives are the ideas, plans and funding for projects.
“We have dozens if not a hundred ideas on the table from every college on campaign initiatives,” Meany said.
According to Meany, if Project Gateway is approved, he would help with marketing materials for the project.
Meany feels like every project that is considered is trying to make one of the gateways of Eastern, the area around Roos field, Dressler and Pierce Hall, look better.
“You’ve got the two dorms and the football stadium, … that’s the traditional gateway,” Meany said. “I think that [any project] for the past five years or the future [has been about] how can we make that gateway area better.”
According to Westfall, whenever investments are made in making infrastructure look better, more efficient and more closely tied to the mission of the institution results in enhancement of the culture on campus.
Accoding to Hayden Indahl, athletic affairs & university advancement representative of ASEWU, if Project Gateway is approved, funding would come from the EWU foundation and there would not be an increase in student tuition from this project.
“[The EWU foundation] is going to go out and talk to people about projects that they’re working on and those people decide which way they put their money towards,” Indahl said.
According to Indahl, the board of trustees is strict about not having student dollars go towards funding for projects.
“[Project gateway] has the potential to be pretty cool if it gets worked out,” Indahl said.