University of Washington Tacoma — YMCA Student Center

University of Washington Tacoma — YMCA Student Center

2015 | Educational Facilities | National Award — Excellence | National Award — Merit

Challenge Design-Build Project Delivery Addressed

While building just one facility, there were two owners with different program needs. The team jointly created a Collaboration Guide that clearly outlined project goals and which was used to guide decisions and actions throughout the project. Additionally, it was a challenging site with unforeseen conditions. The design-build contract clearly and fairly allocated risks, and everyone reacted in a way that best benefitted the project, all while on an accelerated delivery schedule.


The YMCA Student Center is a 70,238-square-foot facility that was built adjacent to the University of Washington Tacoma campus in downtown Tacoma, Washington. The facility was jointly developed by the UW Tacoma and the YMCA of Pierce County to serve as both a student/fitness center for UW Tacoma and a new YMCA facility for downtown patrons. The program inside the facility ranged from assembly space, office space and student meeting rooms to locker rooms, strength training, cardio and track components, and a gym able to accommodate one NCAA-sized basketball court. The project delivery timeline was 18 months from the day the Mortenson/McGranahan design-build team was selected until the grand opening in December 2014. Over 48,000 hours were worked on the project with zero recordable safety incidents.

Design-Build Team

Client/Owner: University of Washington
Design-Builder: Mortenson Construction
General Contractor: Mortenson Construction
Architect: McGranahan Architects
Engineer: PCS Structural Solutions
Specialty Contractors: Pease & Sons, Danard Electric
Other Key Professionals: Enginuity Systems, Hultz BHU
Duration of Construction: 12 months
Project Cost: $19,827,000