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Thirty years of effort have brought all the pieces of the puzzle needed to create a thriving “innovation district” at the east end of downtown Spokane.
Four years after pushing to demolish a century-old warehouse on its growing Spokane campus, Washington State University has decided the historic structure should be preserved as a centerpiece. The university now envisions the six-story Jensen-Byrd building as the focal point of a new plaza and gathering place that also will serve as a downtown gateway to the Spokane campus. No budget or specific timeframe has been established, but the decision is part of WSU’s new master plan, which the university’s regents approved last month.
The battle over medical education in Spokane took an expected twist Friday. A new study commissioned by the University of Washington concludes that doubling the size of its physician training program in Spokane represents the most efficient option for boosting the number of doctors and warns that Eastern Washington’s health care system would be unable to support two medical schools.
The city of Spokane held an open house about the University District Bridge on Thursday presenting the $12 million to $13 million pedestrian bridge that would span Martin Luther King Jr. Way and the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe tracks just south of the Riverpoint Campus. The pedestrian bridge would connect the location of Washington State University’s rapidly expanding College of Medical Sciences north of the tracks with the neighborhood south of the tracks.
Spokane County’s jobless rate in March dropped to 7.9 percent from February’s revised rate of 8.6 percent. State labor economists say Spokane County employers gained about 1,600 jobs in March. Washington’s overall March jobless rate is 6.9 percent, down from 7.3 percent in February.
Smoke from Toby’s B-B-Q truck wafted through Spokane’s Riverpoint campus Thursday. The aroma of brisket, chicken, ribs and pork carried into nearby Washington State University buildings to draw out those inside. “I’m salivating, so I can’t talk right now,” said Bryan Vila, a Washington State University professor. “This is just what I needed to get through the day.”
A federal grant announced Friday will expand the number of medical residents in Spokane and help create a medical-training clinic in Spokane’s University District, where students and educators will work in teams to find better ways to deliver health care to area residents. The $900,000 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services will cover the cost of adding six more medical residents in Spokane. Some of the money will also cover the cost of adding faculty and outfitting the new clinic, said Mike Wilson, senior adviser for Providence Health Care’s Spokane operations.
Spokane’s Riverpoint campus on the eastern edge of downtown is generating $350 million in annual economic impact, the head of a national consulting company told a group of Spokane officials Thursday. Paul Umbach, president and CEO of Tripp Umbach, a health care and higher-education consulting firm, detailed how Riverpoint has grown faster than he predicted four years ago.
Washington State University Spokane will be ready to receive its first group of second-year medical students in the fall, and 15 of the 20 first-year students have decided to stay rather than head to Seattle for instruction. “That’s an astounding number, and a reflection on how good the medical instruction has been here,” said Doug Nadvornick, communications coordinator for WSU health sciences.
Mead’s newest high school is miles away from Mt. Spokane and Mead both in environment and educational styles. Riverpoint Academy opened its doors this fall in the Innovate Washington building, on the banks of the Spokane River near downtown. The academy is a collaboration of the Mead School District and Riverpoint Campus colleges and universities. Its focus is producing critical thinkers by promoting STEM literacy (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and nurturing the creative passion within each student.
For local children born with moderate to profound hearing loss, help learning to navigate a noisy world can be found at HOPE School. Located in the Health and Sciences Building on the Riverpoint Campus, the school has eight students in its morning toddler program and nine in the afternoon preschool. All of HOPE School’s students are 3 to 6 years old and either use hearing aids or have cochlear implants.
Spokane County’s jobless rate rose to 8.8 percent in July as the region’s overall economy remains stagnant. July’s unemployment numbers are usually higher than in June’s – which this year was 8.6 percent – as many school workers slip into job limbo until the fall.
A Texas company cannot move forward with plans to demolish the 103-year-old Jensen-Byrd building in downtown Spokane until after a public hearing next month. Austin-based Campus Advantage Inc. is buying the six-floor former warehouse from Washington State University and plans to tear it down. The company plans to build student housing on the spot.
Spokane’s newest street carries more than traffic. It holds legacy. And hope.
A government board that grants millions of local tax dollars to medical research programs and companies recently gave about $1.8 million to organizations directly overseen by members of its board. A review of public records shows that those board members recused themselves from formal board discussions regarding their grant applications, and then abstained from voting on matters involving their own interests.
Spokane will be offering a new program for second-year med students under a pilot effort that will start in 2013 and run through 2014. The pilot program will start with 20 students in 2013 and a second group of 20 in 2014, according to an announcement Friday by two directors of the program managed by the University of Washington.
OLYMPIA – Despite the snow and sleet covering Washington’s capital, a Spokane delegation lobbied legislators Thursday for key projects and issues, including the completion of the medical school on the Riverpoint Campus. A group of about 60 Spokane-area business and government leaders has been making the rounds for the last two days, getting briefings on general budget conditions as well as the capital and transportation budgets, and an overview from the leaders of both parties in both chambers.
A Texas company has bought the Jensen-Byrd building and plans to transform it to student housing for Spokane’s Riverpoint Campus. Austin-based Campus Advantage paid $2.85 million to Washington State University, which bought the six-story, 1.5 acre property several years ago. The university tried for a number of years to find a developer for the project, but without success.