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BEND, OR -- Oregon State University Cascades kicked off Phase One construction of their new expansion plan at a ceremony in the old pumice mine Wednesday. "We were celebrating the next phase of our campus development, which involves taking a former pumice mine, which is about 150 feet deep, and raising the elevation of that and getting it ready to build campus buildings and develop a beautiful new campus."

As Vice President Becky Johnson told Central Oregon Daily, once the land in the former mine and landfill is prepped for development, the University will build a 50,000 square foot academic building outfitted for STEAM disciplines - Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.

Johnson said it would not have been possible without a $5 million anonymous gift, $1 million from Charles McGrath, Founder and President of Grace-Bio Labs, and other donors who contributed $9 million to match State funding.

The first phase of the project will also add an Amphitheater and Oval Green, improved infrastructure, nearby road improvements, and a new pedestrian and bike path from the new entrance on SW Simpson Avenue to SW Century Drive.

Construction could be finished by Summer of 2021.

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