UW Tacoma Philip Hall ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 23

The University of Washington Tacoma announced Tuesday it will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 23 at 10 a.m. to mark...

The University of Washington Tacoma announced Tuesday it will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 23 to mark the opening of the new William W. Philip Hall.

According to campus spokesperson Beth Luce, the hall will provide a much-needed space for campus events, as well as a place for students to hang out and study between classes. “With the advent of the university’s growth to a four-year institution, space for larger events has been a pressing issue,” said Luce in a statement. “Previously, the largest assembly space on campus was Carwein Auditorium, with a capacity of 162. The new . . . [hall] accommodates 300 to 500, provides a venue for lectures, concerts, banquets and student activities, and will also be available for community events.”

The new building, located at 1914 Pacific Ave., is the only modern structure among a row of historic brick buildings facing Pacific Avenue that make up the main entry to the university. Formerly occupied by storefronts and an open-air shed, the space will support a contemporary building featuring expansive glass windows that take in views of Mount Rainier, Union Station, the Glass Museum and Commencement Bay. Thomas Hacker Architects designed the building; contractor John Korsmo Construction, Inc., broke ground in September 2007. Funding for Philip Hall is the result of a public-private partnership, with the state contributing $7.5 million toward the $12 million cost of the building and $4 million raised through private donations.

The largest room in the building, the James A. Milgard Family Assembly Room, will be used for lectures, concerts, banquets, student activities and community events. The Jane Thompson Russell Commons provides students with a quiet place on campus where they can gather informally to study or meet in small groups. Student art will be displayed in the high-ceilinged, atrium-like Judith Graubard Kopp Gallery. The ground floor facing Pacific will house retail space for lease.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will officially open Philip Hall on Tues., Sept. 23, at 10 a.m., on the UW Tacoma campus. The public is invited.

A $2 million dollar gift from James A. Milgard and a $500,000 gift from the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation helped make the assembly hall possible. The Milgards requested that the building be named after William W. Philip, retired chief executive officer of Columbia Bank.

Philip played a seminal role in getting the UW Tacoma campus established, sited and supported by the South Sound community. When UW officials were seeking a location for the campus, Philip encouraged them to consider downtown Tacoma and helped arrange real estate options to keep land and building acquisition costs down. He has chaired or been the key volunteer for each of UW Tacoma’s fundraising campaigns, and currently serves on the university’s Development Committee.

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