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OSU-Cascades lays out expansion options


(Update: Adding link to meeting materials)

OSU-Cascades discussed long-range expansion plans at a public meeting Tuesday evening. The school is seeking public feedback on two different footprint options, but on Tuesday, focused on only the larger of the two.

The university hopes to expand beyond the current 10-acre campus site. The two options include a 56-acre or 128-acre campus.The planning committee focused on the latter of the choices during the last meeting.

“We decided to focus our attention tonight on 128 acres, because it’s more complex because of the Demolition Landfill, the roadway connections and a number of other attributes to the site,” said Kelly Sparks, the school’s associate vice president of finance and strategic planning.

With the larger expansion option, the university would house at least 40 percent of the students and create innovation and recreation districts, a woodland area and amphitheater, among other amenities.

Though some in the community are worried about traffic problems, the university says most residents understand the school is trying to integrate into the community as a good neighbor.

“There’s definitely some strong themes that we do find are consistent,” said Philip Wirth, the prinicipal planner for Kittelson and Associates. “The desire for the campus to be accessible to the community, to be sustainable, to not put excessive demands on the transportation system — these are all unifying themes that are shared goals of the university and the community.”

Ultimately, the school needs adequate funding to move the expansion process forward. It will be at capacity by 2020 and won’t be able to add more students unless it expands. Currently, the university can serve up to 1,890 students on the campus.

“We are growing really quickly, and are growing to meet the Central Oregon region,” Sparks said. “Seventy-five percent of our students are from Central Oregon — Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties — and in order to provide them the opportunity to stay in region, we need to grow our capacity.”

Expansion won’t stop, but could take a serious pause if lawmakers don’t make funds for more school buildings part of the state’s next two-year budget. For now, the school will focus on gathering community opinions concerning the two expansion options.

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