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Sirti Bestows Award of Honor
October 21, 2010. Billie Moreland, PhD, of Billie Moreland and Associates and Steve Simmons, PhD, E...

Triangle %u201CGraduates%u201D at Sweet Sixteen
The Idea (1994)
In June 1994, while on a layover in the San Francisco airport, Dr. Steve Simmons cam...

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10/31/2006 - Jensen-Byrd Report Omits Technology

In spite of meeting during classical “happy hour” on a Friday evening, a decent number of interested people attended the Washington State University (WSU) presentation on the redevelopment of the Jensen-Byrd building. The WSU Foundation which owns the building, commissioned SERA Architects of Portland, Oregon to profile the potential for rehabilitation of the building. SERA was given four different uses to study – office space, retail, condominiums, and apartments – and they did a well-crafted job. The study was remiss only in the huge number of possibilities not included.

One glaring omission was lack of inclusion of anything “technology.” While noting that the large basement of the Jensen-Byrd was not suitable for a parking garage, no one noticed that it was nearly perfect for a secure data-center. Both the problems and the good features of the open structure of the solidly built warehouse were discussed, but the ease of building communications equipment closets and running high-speed connectivity went unmentioned. The SERA architects seemed a bit surprised that in Spokane, as in Portland, high-tech companies and creative class entrepreneurs exist who prefer buildings and space with patina and character over slick new structures.

The Jensen-Byrd is well situated for technology tenants. There is a fiber hub at the Sirti building, and conduits were planned in from the beginning of the Riverpoint Campus for fiber access to the Jensen-Byrd side of Spokane Falls Boulevard. The relative ease of multi-vendor fiber connectivity could make Jensen-Byrd space sought after by technology based manufacturers as well as other technology based organizations.

Along with a possible data-center, others dream of using the Jensen-Byrd as a hub for the Eastern Washington GigaPOP, due to reach Spokane in January, 2007. Along with the GigaPOP, there could be a cross connection center – a facility where data packets directed from one service provider to another are handed off. This is all part of the proposed Phoenix project put forth by Christopher Kelly and the Entrepreneurs Forum of the Great Northwest (EFGN). To learn more about the EFGN/Phoenix proposal, visit: phoenix.efgn.org/proposal.php.

Another factor that went unnoticed was the viability of leasing the six-story tall roof space to wireless vendors, to use for satellite and microwave links, and campus wireless deployment. The line-of-sight from the Jensen-Byrd building roof to the entire Riverpoint and Gonzaga campuses is excellent and essentially non-impeded.

Although the conclusions of the SERA study were that the build-out of the space for offices, retail, and living quarters would exceed the expected return, so much was left unstudied that the true economic return on -- at the very least -- bringing the building up to code, can’t yet be quantified. Architects, preservationists, planners, and several other interested parties advocated for the preservation of the Jensen-Byrd building and urged further studies into the many other viable options. Everyone in the audience advocated for historic preservation as opposed to demolition and replacement by a slick new building.

To read the entire SERA study, visit: www.spokane.wsu.edu/aboutWSUSpokane/content/JBB_report-final_Sept2006.pdf. The appendix to the study is at www.spokane.wsu.edu/aboutWSUSpokane/content/JBB_appendix-final_Sept2006.pdf

Billie Moreland
 
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