BEND, OR -- Just before adjourning the short session over the weekend, state lawmakers approved $39 million in state-backed bonds to fund construction of a second academic building at Oregon State University’s Bend campus. Kelly Sparks, with OSU-Cascades, says now that the money is secured, things will move quickly. "We plan, this summer, to get started on the reclamation of the pumice mine; so, that process will take a little over a year. And, we plan to start detailed design of [the] academic building next summer, 2019, and open it for the fall of 2021." The university purchased the former pumice mine in 2016, for future development.
This was the second attempt at funding expansion of the campus on Bend’s west side. In 2017, the school asked
for nearly $80 million, "We had asked for an academic building with structured parking, as well as a student success center, in the last Legislative session," says Sparks. "So, we came back and we removed the structured parking, went to surface parking; and asked for just the academic building and not the student success center."
OSU President Ed Ray said in a statement, "We are very grateful of Governor Brown, Speaker Kotek, Senator Knopp, Representative Rayfield and may legislators for the continued expansion of higher education programming in Central Oregon. We are also grateful to the many generous donors whose gifts of over $9 million helped match this state funding."
The new building will serve “STEAM” courses – science, technology, engineering arts and math. Sparks says there will be lab space on the first floor, "That will be coupled with a form of a “maker” space that will allow for the arts to be able co-locate with engineering program and do some of the pretty exciting things they’re doing in that program. In addition to that, we’ll be adding in Kinesiology space for them to be teaching and having a little bit more room to move around some physical tables, and potentially even physical therapy in that space."
Photo courtesy OSU: Artist rendering of the new Academic Building. Existing Tykeson Hall can be seen to the right of the future building.