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Academic Instructional Center

Opsis Architecture

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Opsis Architecture, Opsis Architecture

Project Name

Academic Instructional Center


516 High St


Project Status


Year Completed



127,000 sq. feet

Construction Cost



Western Washington University


  • NAC|Architecture

Certifications and Designations

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Project Description

The Academic Instructional Center (AIC) is a 127,000 sf building with approximately 750 general university classroom seats and a new home for the graduate schools of Communications Sciences and Disorders (CSD) and Psychology. It provides much needed classroom space and computer labs at the south end of the Western Washington University campus and includes space for the public clinics run by the CSD and Psychology Departments. Opsis completed the South District Masterplan that developed the framework for a new major quad linking the new Wade King Student Recreation Center, the AIC and a new multi-modal transportation hub.

Conceived as a space-maker, the AIC weaves together and completes the adjoining campus fabric with the new South quad , pedestrian pathways and arrival plazas. Two wings connected by an informal study lounge bridge create a significant south gateway to the campus from the south. The building is intentionally low in scale to allow maximum sun exposure to the quad and to retain glimpses of the tree-lined hill to the east. The project includes a wide range learning spaces including 175 and 200 seat tiered lecture halls, 12 general classrooms and 4 computer labs. All the learning spaces include fully integrated media technology including group work classrooms designed with five separate flat screen web access points around the room.

The LEED Certified facility when completed was the largest naturally ventilated classroom buildings in the country and winner of a national award for sustainable system design. The integration of the exposed concrete structure provides the high thermal mass combined with radiant heating and cooling and natural ventilation create comfortable and efficient spaces.

The east wing housing the CSD and Psychology Departments includes 4 floors of faculty offices and state-of-the-art neuroscience research and teaching facilities. Clinical labs that recieve frequent off campus visitors are located with a discreet access from a dedicated parking area.
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