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OSU-Cascades hosts open house

By John Hendricks
Published On: Dec 13 2013 01:16:19 AM CST
BEND, Ore. -

Over the last year and a half OSU-Cascades has made significant progress toward expanding into a four-year university.

Thursday night, an open house was held to show the progress that has been made.

Sustainability and creating a campus as beautiful as Central Oregon was the message project designers conveyed to those in attendance.

Several renderings were on display to show how the designers hope to turn an old pumice mine into something beautiful.

"This actually gives people a visual of how that could not only happen realistically but be advantageous," said OSU-Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson.

The design team presented three renderings of where buildings could be placed and how the natural surroundings could play a key role.

"We've been working for probably the last five years, at least, trying to make sure we have a sustainability plan for our campus," Johnson said.

One of the project designers mentioned the new university might be the first 'net-zero' school in the country, meaning the buildings produce just as much energy -- or more -- than they use. Buildings also would utilize the rain and snow water to flush toilets, among other things.

"I think they are trying to make very innovative work, very innovative ideas, coming up with very innovative ways to make best use of the site," Bend resident Kenneth Schofield said.

Some ideas include ways to utilize a tiered building to help collect rainwater, and placing the buildings near the south quarry wall to collect the sun's natural heat.

"What I see is excitement among people who want to experiment with different ways of using the site in environmentally friendly ways," Schofield said.

The ideas laid out Thursday night is only the beginning, now the university wants to hear from the public.

A second open house is planned for Friday from noonto 1:30 p.m. at Cascades Hall.

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