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Big building boom on the way for OSU-Cascades

By Alicia Inns
Published On: Nov 19 2013 09:11:58 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 19 2013 09:17:00 PM CST

In a special report, NewsChannel 21's Alicia Inns talks with officials about the construction boom on the way for Bend when OSU-Cascades expands to a 4-year campus.

BEND, Ore. -

A big building boom is on the way for Bend.

"Over the next 10 years we will be building between 70,000-140,000 square feet of residential and academic space," said Kelly Sparks, the associate vice president of finance and strategic planning at OSU-Cascades.

To build OSU-Cascades' four-year university, you need hands -- a lot of them.
     
OSU projects that for every $1 million, nine jobs are created.

"We will be putting $24 million into construction dollars, so 216 jobs at a minimum," Sparks said.

And with a goal of 4,000-5,000 students by 2025, some of those 216 jobs will become long-term.

"It will require buildings, it will require residential halls, it will require commercial space, so this is a long-term project, and we'll be putting up buildings every couple of years," Sparks said.

Officials at the Central Oregon Builders Association say this project will provide much-needed jobs, but the timing will be ... interesting.

"You already have an elementary and middle school being built, one in Bend and one in Crook County, so there will be a lot of competition out there," said Andy High with COBA.

It's competition that both local construction crews and regional companies could be bidding for.

"The positive for hiring local is there's just a lot of geography you may not know, different types of rock you run into that a local contractor just has better knowledge on," High said.

On the other hand, COBA officials say, hiring outside Central Oregon brings more people and more money into the region. But it's a Catch-22.

"Bringing people in will be a positive as well, but that will also add on to the housing and need, so there's a lot of factors as this university comes in," High said.

Sparks says they're still in the design phase, but the campus will be focused on health, fitness and culture.

"It's going to look modern, contemporary and on the edge, pushing us forward, but not something that's going to go out of date soon," Sparks said.

It won't come without challenges. Parking, road construction and transportation are all factors to be considered in the design process.

But all involved say the finished product will be one the entire community can be proud of.

"That university will be standing for 100-plus years and it will be pretty cool for workers to drive by 100 years from now and say, 'Our company built that, way back when,'" High said.

The OSU-Cascades Campus Expansion Advisory Committee will be looking for input and feedback on design ideas from you in the beginning of December.

For more information, visit osucascades.edu.

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