Arrow-right Camera
News >  Spokane

Major development on Gonzaga’s horizon

Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh discusses major announcements he made Thursday. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh discusses major announcements he made Thursday. (Tyler Tjomsland)

Gonzaga University may soon break ground on a 165,000-square-foot, four-story university center, as well as update technology in the Foley Center Library and create an independent school of nursing.

President Thayne McCulloh announced those possible additions Thursday during National Gonzaga Day. The announcement aligns with university’s ongoing tradition of transformation, he said.

“What’s next? How do we position the university to where people say if you want to get to the next step, Gonzaga is the place to go?” McCulloh said.

“As a visible sign of support for this vision, Gonzaga has received a major gift commitment – one that allows us to reimagine current learning facilities and move into the design phase of the long-awaited and much-needed university center,” he said. The benefactor’s name and the size of the gift were not released. Gonzaga’s board of trustees must approve the plan for the center before construction can begin.

The announcement about the university center was broadcast live online during halftime of the Gonzaga versus Brigham Young University game during National Gonzaga Day – a time for alumni and current students to celebrate the college’s 125-year history and acknowledge a future filled with change.

Around the world, 33 alumni chapter sites held celebrations as well as service drives, collecting food or blankets, said university spokeswoman Mary Joan Hahn.

The new university center would replace the 58-year-old student dining facility known as the COG, at Desmet Avenue and Dakota Street. The center would be open and lit with natural light filtering in from glass walls. It will house student activities, university ministry, dining services, student publications, an 800-seat multipurpose ballroom, a 200-seat auditorium and meeting spaces, university spokesman Pete Tormey said. “The facility would be a technology-driven environment that facilitates a truly world-class integrated experience,” he said.

McCulloh added: “The goal is to bring it all together so the lines of distinction between student life and academics are blurred.”

But the university can’t build something like that without reimagining the rest of the campus, he said.

“We’re creating an independent school of nursing … we are doing that because of the demand,” McCulloh said. “We’re reimagining what the Foley library does: what type of technology it can offer to students and professors.”

He added, “Our desire is to continue the trajectory we began 20 years ago, and becoming one of the best known universities in the nation.”