McKinstry Donation will support Catalyst-Related Research

February 23, 2021 By David Meany

A generous half-million dollar gift to Eastern Washington University from the McKinstry Charitable Foundation will help drive faculty and student research at the Catalyst building on the South Landing of the University District.

Opened in 2020, Catalyst is Spokane’s first zero-energy building, featuring EWU as the primary tenant. This innovation hub is the result of a unique collaboration between cross-industry partners from McKinstry, Avista and Katerra, and will allow Eastern to easily connect students to the regional business community.

More than 1,000 students and staff will utilize Catalyst when in-person learning resumes.

Thanks to the commitment from McKinstry, the new Catalyst Faculty and Student Research Fund will support those students and faculty who conduct research or experiential learning projects out of this dynamic setting.

“Eastern is very grateful for this significant gift form our partners at McKinstry,” says EWU interim President David May. “Catalyst is a game-changer for Eastern and Spokane, and by supporting research efforts this fund will allow our students and faculty to flourish in their work and provide more opportunities to connect with business and industry”

EWU programs in the Catalyst include Design, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Eastern’s Business programs, Creative Writing and some health sciences offices will also be housed in the structure.

The McKinstry Charitable Foundation is committing a gift of $50,000 per year for ten years to the fund, which will be managed by the EWU Foundation. All research projects must be approved annually through the EWU Provost’s Office.

“We are proud to be connecting research passions of EWU faculty and students with real world applications at the Catalyst Building,” says Dean Allen, chief executive officer at McKinstry. “The South Landing Eco-District is a living laboratory fueled by public-private partnership, and we’re excited that this grant program will allow more EWU faculty and students to engage with that vision in a deeper way.”

The Catalyst, and the land on which it sits, are owned by South Landing Building A, LLC, which includes executives from McKinstry and Avista. Catalyst is the first office building in the state constructed out of environmentally friendly cross-laminated timber (CLT), and is connected to an energy resource sharing eco-district planned for the development.

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