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WOU's 2011 campus master plan included a new 57,000-square-foot education building next to Hamersly Library.
February 12, 2013
MONMOUTH -- Gov. John Kitzhaber has included a new education building at Western Oregon University on a to-do list of higher education capital construction.
It will be up to lawmakers during the 2013 Oregon Legislature to give the funding greenlight for the $18.6 million project.
Work, meanwhile, continues on the DeVolder Family Science Center, a project approved during the legislative session two years ago.
Contractors are adding the "skin" to the exterior of the building next to the Health and Wellness Center and preparing to enclose the building for interior work during the coming weeks, said Tom Neal, WOU physical plant director.
"They're putting up hangers for duct work and piping and getting everything ready for the next step," Neal said.
Western included a new education building in its 2011 campus master plan that calls for a roughly 57,000-square-foot facility with 16 classrooms on land just north of the Hamersly Library.
Institutions of higher education submit a wish list of capital projects to the Oregon University System for funding. Those items must then be added to the governor's proposed budget and then pass muster with the Oregon Legislature.
Kitzhaber's priority list -- released last week -- included $242 million in state repaid bonds for Oregon community colleges and public universities.
WOU's current College of Education Building is roughly 35,000 square feet. The program's classes are spread throughout several facilities, including modulars installed in 1985 that were intended to be used for five years.
Kitzhaber included $17.2 million in bonds for Western's building; the university must make up the $1.4 million difference. If lawmakers fund the education building, construction would start in late summer of 2015.
Neal said it won't be easy raising the balance of the money needed for the building.
"We don't have a major benefactor like the other major schools," he said.
Despite a record-setting private donation for the DeVolder Center and state funding, WOU still had to use almost $1.5 in its own laboratory facility and general fund reserves to cover the cost of the science building.
The DeVolder Center "is on schedule for substantial completion in May and we'll have the faculty moved in by next fall," Neal said.