Renovations Underway to Ready Fledgling Graduate & Research Center
The continuing evolution of higher education in Central Oregon is taking another major step forward as renovations gather pace at the new Oregon State University-Cascades Graduate & Research Center on Columbia Street in Bend.
Passers-by along the busy thoroughfare of Colorado Avenue, paralleling the Deschutes River on the City’s west side, will have seen fresh monument signage recently unveiled officially signaling the institution’s arrival, as staff and administrators busily unpack boxes in readiness for an influx of students later this year.
The move marks something of a departure for OSU-Cascades, as the recent acquisition of the property represents the first building it owns outright in the region and a more independent presence away from shared space at the Central Oregon Community College campus at the city’s western edge.
The building, spanning approximately 30,000 square feet and located at 650 SW Columbia St. in Bend, was purchased using $2 million in lottery bonds approved by the Oregon State Legislature and $1 million contributed by OSU-Cascades, plus $800,000 in additional private support from former Bend Mayor Allan Bruckner.
Remodeling of around 10,000 square feet of the former office space to incorporate classroom and learning spaces, budgeted at around $630,000, is also underway, and expected to be complete this summer.
Bend Research will lease a portion of the building’s space where it hopes to spur future public/private research collaborations. The Governor’s Regional Solutions Center – incorporating regional representatives from the Governor’s Office, Transportation, Land Conservation & Development, Housing & Community Services, Business Development and Environmental Quality departments – will lease another 1,000 square feet and AT&T will continue its current lease of 6,000 square feet.
“This new building allows us to move many of our graduate programs and will accelerate the evolution of OSU-Cascades into a comprehensive university,” said Becky Johnson, vice president for OSU-Cascades.
The building will house OSU-Cascades administrative staff, its graduate teaching and counseling programs, and future programs such as the proposed master in public health and master of fine arts in creative writing.
The full purchase price of the building was $3.88 million and the acquisition also allows OSU-Cascades to save $225,000 annually through a reduction in lease fees on the COCC campus and through rent revenues at the new facility.
The rapidly growing campus had an enrollment last fall of approximately 750 junior, senior and graduate students – an increase of 10 percent in headcount, and 16 percent in FTE, over last fall.
House Bill 3627, which provided the legislative support for the new property acquisition from lottery bonds earmarked for economic development, was introduced by Rep. Jason Conger (R-Bend) and sponsored by Sen. Chris Telfer (R-Bend) and Reps. Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver), Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) and John Huffman (R-The Dalles).
“The establishment of a facility owned by OSU-Cascades is an important step in the growth, strength and permanence of this local institution,” commented Conger. “The building as envisioned will create significant synergies between OSU and Bend Research, as well as significant economic development opportunities for Central Oregon.”
Senator Telfer reports that she is in the process of working with OSU and OSU-Cascades on solutions to finance the purchase of additional buildings in an effort to continue the campus expansion. This would have a significant impact to Central Oregon, Oregon’s economy, and further the vision for improving education in our state at a fraction of the cost for other expansion options Telfer pointed out.
“Rather than borrow $16 million in lottery funds, I’ve suggested we make use of a fraction of the $660 million we know the state has, leaving the lottery dollars for other state needs,” explained Telfer. The $16 million in state support would be supplemented by private donations and borrowing to support the anticipated cost of expanding the campus to support 4-year programs.
“With little room for growth on Oregon’s existing campuses, this expansion would position OSU Cascades to provide the capacity for fulfilling the state’s goal of sending 40 percent of its high school graduates on to four-year universities,” Telfer said. “By purchasing existing buildings, we can save on the cost for new construction and inject vitality into Central Oregon’s real estate market. Plus, an additional 5,000 students, faculty members and other personnel brings a significant boost to our economy.”
“We are extremely grateful to Representative Conger for championing this effort, and to Senator Chris Telfer and Representatives Gene Whisnant, Mike McLane and John Huffman for their dedicated support,” added Johnson.
“We especially owe thanks to the many Central Oregonians who supported the bill. This was the second time in two years that community demonstrated support for OSU–Cascades, and each time it has had significant and positive impact.”
“Almost everyone agrees that the number one priority for a strong community is an educated populace,” said former Bend Mayor Bruckner. “Bend has a fine public school system, a well-established and outstanding community college, and an emerging university that deserves and needs greater support.
“We truly hope others will take note of this support and that it will be a catalyst for the community to concentrate efforts on nurturing development of OSU-Cascades,” Johnson added: “Allan Bruckner’s generous gift also illustrates increasing confidence in the campus’ evolution into a comprehensive university and sets the stage for continued philanthropic support from the Central Oregon community.”
Administrators and backers agree the next step is to continue the growth of the institution and develop support for degree programs, student scholarships and faculty endowments, including following the lead shown by such as BendBroadband founder Donald Tykeson, who recently gave $250,000 to establish the campus’s first endowed faculty position, in energy engineering management.
OSU-Cascades was born more than a decade ago of a grassroots effort put forth by Central Oregonians to bring a university to the region. In 2000, the Oregon University System selected OSU, the state’s land grant university, to administer a campus that would serve as a capstone to Central Oregon Community College, offering upper-division and graduate coursework toward bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The new university opened its doors in September 2001.
Today, the dynamic campus offers degree programs in disciplines essential to the world’s growing demand for sustainable enterprises in energy, natural resources, health and recreation and tourism. The living-learning laboratory of Central Oregon, combined with the world-class excellence of OSU’s faculty, provides an incubator for student opportunities and experiences shaped by OSU’s strengths in engineering, science, business and the humanities. The vibrant campus continues to develop, bringing a Central Oregon orientation to OSU’s strategic emphases on healthy people, a healthy planet and a healthy economy.
www.osucascades.edu or 541- 322-3100.
OSU-Cascades Graduate & Research Center
Purpose: Graduate & Research Center will house OSU-Cascades administrative staff, and graduate teaching and counseling programs. The Governor’s Regional Solutions Center will lease 1,000 square feet. Bend Research will lease a portion of the space to potentially spur public/private research collaborations. AT&T will continue its lease of 6,000 square feet.
Square Footage: 29,946 Renovation area – 10,000 square feet
Purchase price: $3.88 million
Financing: $2 milion in lottery bonds approved June 2011 by Oregon State Legislature, $1 million contributed by OSU-Cascades, $800,000 in private support from donor Allan Bruckner
Renovation cost: $627,000 (excludes design and furnishings)
Source of renovation funds: Contributed by OSU-Cascades
Renovation features: Create academic and office space on first level: 6 classrooms, 3 social/behavioral science research labs, 1 conference rooms, 1 work room, Faculty offices
Architect: STEELE ASSOCIATES ARCHITECTS LLC
General Contractor: HSW (awarded March 12, 2012)
Start Date: April 2012
Estimated Completion of Renovation: Summer 2012
New Slate of Degree Programs
While currently OSU-Cascades offers some 15 undergraduate and two graduate degrees, other programs are in various stages of launch and design, including:
• Energy Engineering Management (BS) (Launched Fall 2011). Grew from 4 to 24 students by Fall 2012. By Winter 2012, 44 Pre-EEM (at COCC and OSU-Cascades) and EEM students, plus 10 Pre-EEM students in Corvallis.
• Exercise and Sports Science (BS). (Fall 2011) – launched with eight students. By Winter 2012, 25 students had declared EXSS as a major.
• Sustainability (BS) – double degree (approved March 2012; launch Fall 2012).
• Courses (one per term in executive format) towards Graduate Certificate in Public Health (approved March 2012; launch Fall 2012). Approval to offer courses only, rather than full certificate program.
• Master’s of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Secondary extension – math and science endorsement (approved April 2012; tentative launch in April 2012). For those wanting a jumpstart on MAT–Advanced Mathematics, and MAT–Integrated Science, the application deadline for the 2012-2013 cohort is April 20. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Carolyn Platt at 541-322-3120, or via email: email@example.com.
In Approval Process
• Master’s in Fine Arts (MFA) – Creative Writing – (administrators hope for Spring 2012 approval and Spring or Fall 2013 launch) Social Science (BA/BS).
• Computer Science – web and mobile software. On the evolving mix of degree offerings, OSU-Cascades Director of Communications & Outreach Christine Coffin said, “The bottom line is that to continue to attract students from both inside and outside the region we need a wide selection of degree programs that also have some uniqueness to the area.
“For example, the Tourism and Outdoor Leadership program is an excellent fit with Central Oregon values and our economic development and is appealing to people both locally and from farther afield. Also, our innovative hospitality tuition ties into that same theme.
“As we think about the next degree programs we prioritize reaching out to the community, including economic development agencies and local industry representatives, in an effort to identify their needs and drill down to see what might make the most effective and useful course structure.”
As a practical illustration of how such collaboration hones the competitive educational edge, Coffin said that conversations with local companies that use programmers and need employees with hi-tech knowledge helped shape a computer science degree currently in design phase to be geared towards web and mobile software applications.
Coffin added, “When we talk about degree programs, we also need to be realistic about timeframe expectations.
“Typically, our Dean of Academic Programs works closely with stakeholders in series of meetings and informal surveys to identify areas of interest.
“In striving to come up with degree programs that produce graduates who are prime job candidates, the idea that employers don’t have to necessarily recruit outside the area can be a huge time and cost savings for such local companies.”