|Read more about Project Gateway:|
|Student structure planning begins
by Frank McNeilly
|Live Blog: Board of Trustees meets on Gateway Project
by Grant Stancliff
Editor’s note, 3/24/12: Washington Street correction: the thoroughfare would be rerouted on game days only.
The EWU Foundation, a fundraising alumni organization, presented The Gateway Project to the EWU Board of Directors March 23 at the Board Committee of the Whole.The aim of the project is to create community within the EWU campus by constructing a “city within a city” and increase visibility, retention and scholarships. Conceptually, after the initial building is paid off, the university would be possession of a sustainable revenue generator. According to Mike Westfall, vice president of EWU University Advancement, Project Gateway is still in the visioning process: The presentation was to inform the board of trustees and the next step is a feasibility study.The Gateway project would redefine the heart of the campus at the Roos Gateway and would initially unite athletics and academics by creating a multipurpose building along the Washington Street side of Roos Field.Washington Street would be rerouted around the backside of the stadium during game days only, and a new eagle plaza would be created just before the Roos arch. The new flow of traffic would increase pedestrian safety.The first phase building would introduce 5,000 more seats in lower seating rather than bleachers to the Washington side of Roos Field and 3,000 more seats to upper, covered seating. The inside the building would house concessions with a view of the game, leasable commercial space, suites and a donor club with tiered seating and a patio, many bathrooms on one concourse alone, the Academic Success Center, a training room, football operations, the University Bookstore, locker rooms for home and visitors and a dedicated space for the band near the field.One of the presenters said that a dedicated spot for track would be located elsewhere on campus.Further phases included additional seating in the north end zone, which would connect the proposed building with the existing stands to the east (far side from Washington Street) and a dedicated student area on the south. The whole stadium could eventually seat 20,000.Dr. Arévalo was “very supportive of the efforts” of the EWU Foundation and reiterated many of the details that had been discussed.Patrick Spanner, student trustee, said, “Since I’ve been here, I’ve been waiting for something like this.” After voicing his support, he asked the speakers for the project how it could impact ever single student, including the 2,000 commuters from Spokane, and all the alumni instead of just bringing new life to a certain area. He asked those in planning to consider this in their efforts and repeated his support for the project.The project would be funded by donations only and if approved, would be attempted to be completed in 30 months, September of 2014.What do you think? As the feasibility study begins, do you have questions or concerns? How do you think this project would add to EWU? What other impact might it have?Tweet us at @easterneronline or comment below.