Friends Donate $30 Million Toward Gates Center at University of Washington

Friends of Bill and Melinda Gates donated $30 million to name a computer science building at the University of Washington after the first couple of Microsoft Corp., the school said Thursday.

Microsoft President Brad Smith is leading the fundraising campaign for the building, which will total $110 million. The $30 million comes from a group of tech giants, including Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, Zillow Group Inc. co-founders Richard Barton and Lloyd Frink, Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella and Charles Simonyi, the architect of Microsoft Word.

The 135,000-square-foot building will sit across the street from another computer science building named after Mr. Gates's Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

"There is wonderful symbolism in having" the two computing centers in such proximity on the campus, said Mr. Smith in a statement. "As teenagers, Bill and Paul roamed UW computer labs. They went on to change the face of Seattle and the world -- first with Microsoft, and later with their philanthropy."

The facility will include a 3,000-square-foot robotics laboratory; wet lab space to house the school's research in molecular information system; an undergraduate commons and a 250-seat auditorium. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018. The gifts are part of a $5 billion fundraising campaign.

Write to Douglas Belkin at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 12, 2017 16:23 ET (20:23 GMT)