Central Washington University unveils new science facility - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Central Washington University unveils new science facility

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ELLENSBURG, WA - Central Washington University is celebrating the grand opening of a new $64 million science facility.

The building features a planetarium, observatory tower for state-of-the-art telescopes, specialty labs such as the anechoic chamber - a room that absorbs all sound - and even an electron microscope.

The 119-square-foot facility also houses the Departments of Physics and Geological Sciences, Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, and a regional program that monitors the Earth's movement.

Bill Yarwood, Executive Director for facilities on campus, says the building is meant to be used as a learning opportunity in more ways than what meets the eye.

"It's really designed as a living-learning tool," he says. "So, there's learning areas throughout the building on the inside and outside of the building, there's native planting, and there's rocks that are actually geologic specimens that are identified, there's a learning area on the roof."

University science instructors have also been given new space to continue more in-depth research in their fields, and Yarwood says this building will increase opportunities for collaboration between students and faculty in addition to hands-on experience.

Not only is the facility now home to one of Central Washington's largest planetariums, but it also aims to be one of the most environmentally-friendly buildings in the state.

"It's a lead-certified building that reflects the university's commitment and dedication to green building and sustainability," Yarwood explains.

The next open tour of the new science facility will be tomorrow, October 15th, from 11:00 a.m. to noon.