The College of Forestry at Oregon State University celebrated the start of construction of the new Oregon Forest Science Complex with a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 29.
Around 250 people gathered for the event, which featured speakers incuding Oregon State President Ed Ray; Governor Kate Brown; Thomas Maness, the Cheryl Ramberg-Ford and Allyn C. Ford dean of the College of Forestry; Allyn Ford, chairman of the board of directors for Roseburg Forest Products; and others.
The 85,000-square-foot project will encompass a new Peavy Hall and the A. A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory. It will showcase innovative uses for wood in building construction and design, including advanced wood products such as cross-laminated timber. The complex will also feature recycled wood beams from the old Peavy Hall to honor the college’s storied past.
“The complex will highlight materials grown and produced in the state of Oregon,” said Maness. “The state is perfectly positioned to produce products like cross-laminated timber. This complex is for the people of Oregon and represents the future of forestry in the entire region.”
The new buildings will serve a growing student population and meet the research needs of people working throughout the state and region toward a healthy forest landscape. In the last decade, the college has nearly doubled its enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students. In the last fiscal year, faculty researchers successfully competed for $11.4 million in research grants and contracts, up $2.9 million in the last decade.
To support Oregon’s wood-products industry, the A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory will serve as the hub for the National Center for Advanced Wood Products Manufacturing and Design. The center brings together expertise from OSU’s College of Forestry and College of Engineering and the University of Oregon’s School of Architecture and Allied Arts.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown worked with both universities to secure funds for this first-in-the-nation collaboration among forest-product scientists, engineers and architects. To support the mission of the center, a total of $2.6 million in state funds has been allocated and used to leverage an equal commitment in federal funds for research and wood-product testing.
“The complex is crucial to the future of our working forest landscapes,” Maness said. “The way we thought about forestry, natural resources and wood science in the past is very different from how we think about them now. This complex will help prepare our students to tackle our most complex landscape challenges, improve rural economies and establish a healthy forest landscape.”
In 2016, OSU was named the world’s 14th best university for forestry and agriculture by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, in a survey of more than 200 schools.
The new forest science complex has been supported by $29.7 million in state and $35 million in private funds, including lead gifts from Sierra Pacific, Starker Forests, Inc. and Roseburg Forest Products.
~ Nick Houtman