Last week, WSU’s Board of Regents approved, among many items, the renaming of the South Campus Facility at WSU Spokane to the Center for Clinical Research and Simulation – a name that better illustrates what goes on inside.

The facility is home to the Sleep and Performance Research Center, which – in addition to its well-known sleep laboratory – includes a simulated hazardous operational tasks laboratory, where researchers study the effects of sleep loss and distraction on the performance of police officers and the military.

The recently retired Bryan Vila directed the simulated hazardous operational tasks laboratory. His team used the lab for its police decision making research, which has garnered significant attention in the last couple of years.

Driving simulators in the lab have been used for Van Dongen’s sleep research. A drowsy driving study for truck drivers resulted in a patent on a new drowsy driver detection technology.

The facility is also home to our addictions clinical research.

The name change better aids visitors and those new to campus. The facility is home to The Bookie, Better Health Together and office space for faculty and staff. We hold a number of events and presentations in the building, too.

The history of the building, though, doesn’t begin with WSU.

Montgomery Ward WarehouseThe facility was constructed in 1938 and was the warehouse for Montgomery Ward. Over the years it was also occupied by the F.O. Berg Company.

Thanks to community support for legislative funding beginning in the early 2000s, the building was renovated. That’s when the Sleep and Performance Research Center occupied space. It’s also when the campus hit a growth spurt, as the Academic Center was also constructed around the same time, followed a few years later by the Nursing Building.

With the name change, the building and what goes on inside can be better marketed to those who are a little unfamiliar with our campus.

Historical photo courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture