Kaiser Borsari Hall
Donors Fred Kaiser and Grace Borsari
Alpha Technologies entrepreneurs Fred Kaiser and Grace Borsari, whose generous $10 million lead gift will support the fundraising campaign “Building Washington’s Future.” The campaign aims to raise $20 million for a new building to house growing Western Washington University programs in electrical engineering, computer science and energy science.
Kaiser Borsari Hall will house growing Western Washington University programs in electrical engineering, computer science and energy science. The building will be named for Fred Kaiser and Grace Borsari, longtime friends and champions of Western, who have committed $10 million to the campaign to fund the project. University Advancement is raising an additional $10 million in private funding. The $20 million in private fundraising will be matched by the Washington State Legislature, which allocated $2 million for design-related expenses in 2019. The legislature plans to allocate the balance of $46 million for project design and construction in the 2021-23 biennium, with the understanding that Western will secure the private funding.
Fred Kaiser and Grace Borsari are business partners, entrepreneurs and founders of Alpha Technologies. They founded the business in 1975 as a supplier of backup electrical power sources for cable television systems. They now provide backup power equipment to a wide range of telecommunications and broadband customers. “It has always been our priority to invest in education as it pays the highest dividends to all stakeholders,” Kaiser and Borsari said in a joint statement.
“This is an extraordinary commitment from Fred and Grace to advance engineering and computer science education at Western and in our state,” said Sabah Randhawa, president of Western. “It is also a great example of a public-private partnership increasingly required if we are to make substantive progress in building capacity at our public institutions to meet the Washington Roundtable’s 70 percent credential achievement for Washington students by 2030.”
Kaiser Borsari Hall, along with the new Interdisciplinary Science Building scheduled to begin construction in May, represents Western’s accelerated expansion of the infrastructure needed to increase student access and teaching capacity in STEM fields. The space in the new facility will reduce bottlenecks in these programs and help Western meet the increasing workforce demand for people with advanced skills in systems engineering and computer science.
Kaiser-Borsari Hall will support expansion of existing Electrical Engineering and Computer Science programs. The goal is to move these programs into a single building to encourage more complementary and interdisciplinary teaching, learning and research, and to explore other potential synergies of the programs. The building will provide state of the art teaching spaces, collaboration spaces, and experiential learning environments, as well as class labs, research spaces and administrative and faculty offices. Final project budget is yet to be determined but the total gross square feet is anticipated to be between 47,000-54,000.
“This generous lead gift will significantly help us meet the tremendous surge in student interest and enrollment in our STEM programs,” said Brad Johnson, dean of Western’s College of Science and Engineering. “It will also help us to expand our programmatic emphasis on hands-on, authentic learning experiences that provide a broad population of students the ability to tackle the many technological challenges we face – right here in Washington. We are excited to be a part of a new era for Western, working in closer partnership with our community to meet the needs of students.”
The building will be designed as a hub for collaboration and connection with industry partners, and will include spaces that foster innovation, investigation and inspiration. Designed with physical and cultural accessibility and inclusion in mind, the building will foster learning and the exchange of ideas among an increasingly diverse population of students and faculty, helping Western to achieve its goals of inclusive student success and increasing Washington impact by contributing to future workforce needs in Washington and the region.
The University has selected Perkins and Will to complete the pre-design and design phases of the project. Pre-design began in February 2020, with design anticipated to begin in August 2020. Construction completion is targeted for summer 2024.