Construction booming on OSU campus

Austin Hall is one of many construction projects taking place this summer on campus. (photo: Theresa Hogue)

Austin Hall is one of many construction projects taking place this summer on campus. (photo: Theresa Hogue)

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Hard hats have replaced baseball caps as the fashion statement of summer on the Oregon State University campus, as a number of major construction projects totaling about $125 million are under way.

Two other projects totaling $27 million – the new OSU Beaver Store and a basketball center – are wrapping up. A number of other construction projects, with a price tag of about $145 million, are on the horizon – thanks to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, who carried them in his budget and the Oregon Legislature, which approved them during the 2013 session.

All told, that is nearly $300 million in construction in the works, funded by a combination of private giving through The Campaign for OSU, matching state funds, student fees, and bonding, according to Brian Thorsness, executive director of Campus Operations.

“This is a busy time on campus, but all of these buildings are important to the mission of Oregon State University,” Thorsness said.

The three biggest projects are also three of the most visible. Workers are clearing the site for a planned Student Experience Center just east of the old OSU Beaver Store and Memorial Union. The $42 million building, which is funded by student fees, will house student government and organizations, student media and other student-related programs. The four-story structure is scheduled for completion in November of 2014.

New Student Experience Center will boost OSU student programs

The hub of the Oregon State University campus is getting a remake – and a new home for student programs.

Construction began this month on a $42 million project that will add a four-story Student Experience Center to campus. Located on the site of the old Beaver Store parking lot, the 90,000-square-foot building will house many of the student programs now residing in the Memorial Union, MU East and Snell Hall. Student fees are funding the project.

“In all, some 28 programs will relocate to the Student Experience Center when it is completed,” said Michael Henthorne, executive director of the Memorial Union. “A neat facet to the project will be construction of a plaza, which is an 8,000-square-foot canopy that will link the new center with the Memorial Union and host student and university events.

“A rain-protected, outdoor space was the number one student-requested improvement,” Henthorne added.

Among the programs that will be housed in the new Student Experience Center are the Associated Students of OSU, the Memorial Union Program Council, International Students of OSU, Student Media, Diversity Development, the Student Sustainability Initiative and others.

The building will also include a reflection space and several lounge areas.

The site of the former Beaver Store, which is relocated to a new space at the parking garage, will be remodeled, Henthorne said. When construction is completed, the space will include a 350-seat meeting facility, several student lounges, a new restaurant operated by the Memorial Union called North Porch Café, and a dance rehearsal space that can double as meeting space.

Portions of the Memorial Union will be remodeled, with some projects beginning now, and others after the completion of the Student Experience Center, when student programs and organizations relocate.

Among the new features of the Memorial Union:

• Many Hands Trading will lease a space beginning this fall;
• OSU Printing and Mailing will open a new retail and service headquarters this fall, including a full post office and package mailing center;
• The University ID Center will relocate to the MU in 2015;
• A new “high-tech” meeting facility will be installed in 2015;
• A family-friendly study lounge will open in 2015 with child resources for parents accompanied by small children.

Austin Hall, future home of the College of Business, is rising rapidly along the north side of Jefferson Way, between Sackett and Fairbanks halls. Construction began in February on this four-story, $50 million building. A $10 million gift from Ken Austin and the late Joan Austin, and a $6 million gift from Pat Reser and the late Al Reser and their family, were the lead gifts on the project – an initiative of The Campaign for OSU. The legislature provided half of the funding for the building during the 2011 session.

The third large project is construction of a new student residence hall on the east end of campus. Located adjacent to Wilson Hall, this $28 million facility is funded through state bonds, which will be repaid by resident fees. The five-story hall will open in September of 2014 and house 324 students, adding to OSU’s on-campus housing capacity.

Aided by an initial gift from the late Joyce Collin Furman, four of the university’s cultural centers are getting new homes. The Native American Longhouse opened in the spring, and construction is beginning on the Asian & Pacific Cultural Center, the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, and the Centro Cultural César Chavez.

Here is a list of recent, current and future construction projects at OSU:

Construction Projects Under Way:

• Austin Hall – Completion of the100,000-square-foot home for the College of Business is scheduled for fall of 2014.

• Student Experience Center – Work is just beginning on the $42 million project located just east of the Memorial Union. When completed in November of 2014, this four-story, 88,000-square-foot building will house student organizations and student media. A glass-covered outdoor plaza will connect the building to the east wing of the Memorial Union.

• Residence Hall – A new $28 million student residence hall is being constructed on the east end of campus, adjacent to Wilson Hall. The five-floor, 76,400-square-foot building, which will house about 324 students, is scheduled to open in fall of 2014.

• César Chavez Cultural Center – Construction is under way for Centro Cultural Cesar Chavez, located between the parking garage and the CH2M-Hill Alumni Center. The one-story, 3,500-square-foot, $2.4 million center should be completed by Jan. 1 of 2014.

• Asian & Pacific Cultural Center – Construction is beginning for the one-story, 3,500-square foot center, which will be located just east of the new business building, Austin Hall. The $2.4 million building is scheduled for completion in late fall of 2014.

Construction Projects Nearly Complete:

• Basketball Center – This $15 million facility adjacent to Gill Coliseum recently had its grand opening and is ready for use. With donor support, construction began in June of 2012 for this 41,000-square-foot building that will be used by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

• OSU Beaver Store – The store is relocating from the Memorial Union to the ground floor of the parking garage just east of Gill Coliseum. The $12 million project began in July of 2012 and should open this fall. The two-story addition to the parking garage is 45,000 square feet.

Upcoming Construction Projects:

• Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center – Construction should begin soon on this new cultural center, which will be located on Monroe Street, near the intersection of 25th Street. The $2.4 million, one-story, 3,500-square-foot building should be completed in 2014.

• Classroom Building – The Oregon legislature just approved bonding for this four-story, $65 million building that will add much-needed classroom space to campus. The 130,000-square-foot building will house 2,300 classroom seats in auditorium and small classroom styles, as well as advanced arena and parliament styles to maximize student engagement. The project will house the University Honors College, Media Services, the Center for Teaching and Learning, and Technology Across the Curriculum groups, and will be located across a new plaza from Austin Hall. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall and be completed in the fall of 2015. Half of the funding for the building will come from non-resident tuition revenues; the project was supported by the Associated Students of OSU.

• Engineering Building – A new $40 million engineering building will be constructed just north of Kelley Engineering Building. Construction on the three-story, 60,000-square-foot building is scheduled to begin in summer of 2014, and completed in the fall of 2016. During the 2013 session, the legislature approved public bonding for half of the costs with the other half provide by donors to the Campaign for OSU. Peter and Rosalie Johnson contributed $7 million and an anonymous donor gave $10 million.

• Strand Ag Hall – A major remodeling of Strand Ag Hall, including deferred maintenance and a seismic upgrade, is scheduled between winter of 2014 and fall of 2016. The project will cost nearly $25 million in funding approved by the legislature.

• Washington Way – Design for the Washington Way realignment project, from 10th Street to 35th Street, will be completed this August. Construction for Phase I – which includes the intersection of 15th Street and Washington Way, to Benton Place – will start in the spring of 2014 and by completed by that fall. Phase I is estimated to cost $3.3 million.

• Memorial Union East Wing – The space that has been used by the OSU Bookstore, then Beaver Store, will be renovated and redesigned into student activity spaces.

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