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Spokane team picked for wine center

RICHLAND, Wash. -- A Spokane team has been chosen to design and build a new $23 million Washington State University Wine Science Center at the WSU Tri-Cities campus in Richland.

Lydig Construction Inc. and ALSC Architects were announced as the team by the WSU Wine Science Center Development Authority.

"Lydig and ALSC conceptualized the center as an iconic structure that will attract world-class researchers and future students to the wine industry in Washington and provide a great experience for visitors," said Rob McKinney, chair of the authority and vice president of operations of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates of Woodinville.

Design will start immediately with construction expected to start this fall and be completed in late 2014.

The center will be approximately 39,300 gross square feet and will be designed to LEED -- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design -- silver environmental standards. The conceptual design includes a research and teaching winery, state-of-the-art research laboratories, classrooms, conference rooms and a regional and international wine library.

The center will be a landmark building at the corner of George Washington Way and University Drive, the gateway to the Tri-Cities Research District. A distinctive lobby will provide views of the research winery, the WSU Tri-Cities campus and the Columbia River, McKinney said. The glass lobby will open to exterior landscaped plazas.

Research and teaching will be specific to challenges and opportunities faced by grape growers and winemakers in the Pacific Northwest. Washington's grape and wine industry aims to triple its annual economic impact from $8.6 billion to $25.8 billion by 2020.

More than $18 million has been pledged in the past two years toward building the center, including contributions from the state wine commission for $7.4 million through industry assessments, a $5 million state grant, a $2 million federal grant and numerous corporate and private commitments. Fundraising, led by WSU, is in the final stages.

The WSU Wine Science Center Development Authority is managed by the city of Richland. Land was donated by the Port of Benton.

WSU has been involved in wine-related research since the 1930s and is the only university in the Pacific Northwest offering bachelor's and graduate degrees in viticulture and enology, a wine business management program and distance education.

-- Dan Wheat


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