Catalyst Gets Proper Opening

More than 18 months after its completion date, and a full year of in-person classes, the visionaries behind the Catalyst building gathered on June 9 to formally celebrate the opening of this crown jewel of Spokane’s South Landing Eco-District.

Interim President David May discusses EWU’s role at the Catalyst.

Unlike the virtual grand opening in the fall of 2020 – amidst the early months of the pandemic – leaders from EWU, Avista and McKinstry proudly stood side-by-side and welcomed business and community leaders eager to see first-hand how the zero-energy facility is working.

Catalyst not only demonstrates sustainable building techniques but has created a living laboratory that reflects how a collaborative public-private partnership can benefit both students and the community.

“Eastern Washington University is one of the prime economic drivers of this region,” said EWU interim President David May. “Being here in the Catalyst building is an incredibly important part of that mission. Our students are doing things that other graduate students don’t normally do.”

Former Avista CEO Scott Morris shares the history of how the Catalyst became a reality.

Those attending the “re-grand” opening got a first-hand look at some of the cool things Eastern students are doing in Catalyst. EWU is the primary tenant in the building, with programs such as computer science, electrical engineering, and design. Also represented are the EWU School of Business and various health sciences programs. 

In addition to May, former Avista CEO Scott Morris – who’s vision led to the naming of the neighboring Scott Morris Center for Energy Innovation – and McKinstry CEO Dean Allen spoke at the event. Each encouraged those in attendance to “keep the momentum going” so that the South Landing and the University District can continue to thrive as an innovation hub for our region.

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