CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon Legislature has approved $29.7 million in state bonding to help fund the Oregon Forest Science Complex at Oregon State University in Corvallis.
The project includes construction of a new classroom and laboratory building and a state-of-the-art advanced wood products laboratory designed to support Oregon’s manufactured wood products industry and wood building design companies. Public funds will be matched by private donations to support the $60 million initiative to modernize and expand research and teaching facilities for the OSU College of Forestry.
The centerpiece is a new 85,000 square-foot classroom and research center to support professional forestry, wood science, renewable materials and interdisciplinary natural-resource education programs. The building will replace Peavy Hall on the Corvallis campus.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown will need to sign the legislation before it becomes official.
The complex also encompasses a new 20,000 square-foot research facility dedicated to developing and testing new wood building products that could be manufactured in Oregon. The Advanced Wood Building Products Laboratory will feature a high-bay lab, computer-controlled and robotic manufacturing systems and a unique strong floor for full-scale product testing.
The project will demonstrate innovative uses of engineered wood products, such as cross-laminated timber panels that can be up to 80 feet long and a foot thick and are part of a world-wide trend in building design.
“We are transforming the educational experience for undergraduate and graduate students,” said Thomas Maness, the Cheryl Ramberg Ford and Allyn C. Ford Dean of the College of Forestry. “Our expanded research and degree programs will give students and our partners a real-life glimpse into the future of forestry and the wood products industry. We are educating a workforce to advance the competitiveness of innovative wood products manufactured in Oregon.”
Through strategic partnerships, the complex will boost applied research efforts by combining the expertise necessary to develop new wood products and materials from initial concept to design, testing and commercial application.
Students and faculty at the Oregon State College of Forestry and College of Engineering and the University of Oregon’s School of Architecture and Allied Arts will use the new facilities.
“With this project investment, the State of Oregon is doubling down to lead a new national effort to advance the science and technology of environmentally friendly wood construction,” Maness said. “We are partnering with companies in our forest products industry to bring new jobs to rural communities.”
Among the innovations already under development at Oregon State are cross-laminated timber panels, environmentally friendly adhesives, innovative connection systems that shorten construction time, and new applications of wood-based composites.
In addition to benefits for sustainability and economic development, new wood construction techniques are attracting attention from engineers and architects.
“The spaces being designed with next-generation wood building products are beautiful, inviting, and healthy places to live and work,” Maness said. “Our new home for the College of Forestry will show what can be done with wood, while creating a place that will be exciting and inspiring to our students and all Oregonians who care deeply for the future of our working forest landscapes.”