New WSU Vancouver building, Ridgefield library receive state funds

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A handful of local projects have received millions in funding from Washington state as the Legislature approved a supplemental capital budget last week that now sits on the governor’s desk.

Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6248 passed both chambers of the Washington state Legislature with zero “no” votes in the final days of the 2020 session that concluded March 12. Of specific projects that received funding, three featured work in North County, including a new Ridgefield library, a sewer extension on Battle Ground’s west side and a life sciences building at Washington State University Vancouver in Salmon Creek.

The largest of the appropriations was $4 million for the aforementioned WSU Vancouver Life Sciences Building. According to a project description from WSU Vancouver, the building would be 60,000 square feet and would integrate current teaching and research labs into one building while also offering new labs for neuroscience, molecular biology and nursing research.

State lawmakers also approved $500,000 for the expansion of the Ridgefield Community Library. When complete the improved library would grow from 2,055 square feet to at least 8,000 square feet, according to Fort Vancouver Regional Library’s project webpage, and would feature a 75-seat community meeting room accessible after hours; separate teen, children and adult areas, a study room, lounge seating and additional computers for library use.

The library project had already received more than $3 million, according to the project page, and could begin construction in spring. Last fall FVRL Executive Director Amelia Shelley said that construction could take nine months.

Outside of building projects for places of learning, the city of Battle Ground received $258,000 for sewer improvements and extension on the city’s west side. The state funding would join federal dollars for about 2 miles of sewer improvement from Northeast 92nd Avenue to State Route 503, which an approved legislative priority agenda from Battle Ground City Council in November stated would allow for 190 acres of private development.

The phased project is anticipated to cost more than $6 million, including a new pump station and sewer main improvements, with the quarter-million dollars from the state being used for preliminary design and pre-construction work. The agenda noted the city may have an additional request in 2021 depending on what federal funds can be realized.

The state capital budget must be signed by Gov. Jay Inslee before it becomes law.

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