Samuelson Communication & Technology Center


Central Washington University


Ellensburg, WA






Fire Protection



Project Team
Andy Brown
Associate, Vice President
Mike Lehner
Associate, Senior Project Manager
Eric Sparling
Electrical Designer
Matthew Woo
Associate, Electrical Engineering
Sean Bollen
President/CEO and Principal—Electrical
Revitalizing a Historic Building at the Heart of Campus

The historic, pre-Depression era Samuelson Union Building, situated in a prime location at the heart of the Central Washington University Campus, remained vacant for eight years until the University received funding to restore it. This complex renovation and expansion project created a 125,000 SF integrated science and technology center, which is now home to the school’s STEM programs, the Office of Multimodal Learning. The project also included a new 5,000-SF data center that serves the entire University and also functions as a host data center for much of eastern Washington.

The Multimodal Education Center facilitates CWU’s online and distance learning programs, which expand CWU’s ability to provide higher education opportunity to the underserved populations of Kittitas, Yakima, and Klickitat counties. State of the art technology systems featured in the facility include a Turing supercomputer, new robotics and cyber warfare laboratories, and active learning spaces.

We provided the mechanical, electrical, and fire protection engineering for the LEED Gold facility, the fifth CWU Ellensburg campus building to be LEED certified. Our mechanical design supported energy performance optimization by using chilled beams, which are more efficient than traditional systems, and heat recovery systems. Our electrical design included normal, emergency, and standby power distribution, LED lighting, and security systems. Additionally, we provided lifecycle cost analysis and energy modeling as well as CFD modeling the data center.

The data center required strict environmental controls to maintain safe conditions for the sensitive equipment. The space utilizes a stand-alone HVAC system with direct/indirect evaporative air handling equipment and tight temperature and humidity controls. We produced a CFD model to help the Owner understand the significance of deploying the proper cooling technologies and appropriately sized equipment to efficiently cool the data center. The CFD model also informed our design placement of the air distribution and environmental control for ventilation cooling. The data center also includes air sampling smoke detection that provides advance early warning and detection of smoke before significant damage can occur.