Microsoft Gift Boosts New Computer Science Building
In a major departure from its normal giving practices, Microsoft Corp. has made a $7.2 million contribution to a new home for the University of Washington's nationally ranked Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
The Microsoft gift provides a significant boost to the capital campaign the department has launched to fund a $70 million building that will double the department's total space and triple its lab space. This comes at a time when computer research has shifted toward experimental group efforts in a laboratory-intensive environment.
The UW's $70 million Computer Science and Engineering Building will rise on the site of the of the old Electrical Engineering Building near the Sylvan Grove and the UW's four columns. Drawing courtesy of LMN Architects.
With the additional space, the department can better explore technologies like robotics and wireless computing and continue to develop new applications. The facility will also bolster recruitment, allowing the department to continue to attract top students and researchers and undertake more large-scale collaborations like the UW/Microsoft Summer Research Institute, which draws many of the finest researchers from around the world.
Microsoft's contribution for the state-of-the-art structure represents the company's first donation of funds for an academic building. Company officials called the gift a one-time event, based on a close, productive relationship, and unlikely to be repeated elsewhere.
"I'm extraordinarily grateful to Microsoft for this unprecedented investment in our future," says Ed Lazowska, department chair. "We collaborate extensively in research, in education and in regional and national leadership." In addition to the annual research institute, Microsoft and the UW are linked by extensive research collaboration, including a number of shared appointments. The UW is the nation's No. 1 supplier of technical employees to Microsoft.
The gift brings the total in funding for the building to $50.8 million, with $20.8 million of that in private donations. The rest is in institutional and state money. The building will provide 85,000 square feet of new space and is located on Stevens Way, just east of Sylvan Grove, filling the spot the old Electrical Engineering Building used to occupy.