By Caitlin Richmond-staff
The Oregon State University-Cascades expansion project has made major progress toward the four-year university program that has been talked about for the past couple of years.
Last week, land was chosen for the new site of the campus, and should be purchased shortly. The land is located near the SW Century Drive and SW Chandler Avenue intersection, and totals 56 acres. OSU-Cascades will be purchasing two adjoining lots on SW Chandler Avenue; one is an undeveloped lot zoned for limited commercial use, and the other lot has a pumice stone mine on it, and is partially zoned for residential use, according to an OSU press release.
The university will invest approximately half of its $24 million raised — $16 million in general fund-backed bonds matched with an anticipated $4 million in philanthropic support and $4 million in campus supported bonds — in the West Bend property transactions, according to Christine Coffin, the Director of Communications & Outreach for OSU-Cascades.
“These proposed real estate purchases are for the long term and represent the investment in university education that Central Oregonians have long sought for their region,” said OSU Vice President Becky Johnson stated in the press release.
“These purchases would not have been possible without the outpouring of philanthropic support from our community,” Johnson said. “It is an important catalyst for our expansion and we are grateful to our donors for the inspiration they have given to their community and the campus.”
Finding a space on the westside was an important criteria during the search, because those involved wanted to make sure it would be easy for students to do things around Bend and become part of the community, Johnson said in an earlier article. Having a centrally located campus will be beneficial in other ways too.
“The location of the properties — near hiking and biking trails, athletic and medical facilities, and shopping areas — allows the university to partner with local businesses while focusing state resources on the construction of student learning, housing, dining and gathering facilities,” according to the press release.
Although this land was not the first choice for the new campus, it is near downtown Bend, the Old Mill, and the current OSU-Cascade Graduate & Research center. Juniper Ridge, north of downtown, had also been considered, but the area would have taken more time and resources to develop, due to a lack of already existing traffic and sewer infrastructure.
The Finance & Administration Committee of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education approved the property purchase on September 20th, and sales of the purchases are set to close following the respective due diligence periods on each. Stay tuned for future news and updates on this expansion!