Lawmakers approve OSU-Cascades funding

$16 million in bonds for Bend four-year campus site

BEND, Ore. - Oregon State University's branch campus in Bend is a step closer to establishing a four-year campus after a successful vote Monday by the Oregon State Legislature to provide $16 million in general fund-backed bonds for the acquisition or renovation of facilities for classroom and other purposes. 

The bonds will be matched with $4 million in philanthropic support and $4 million in campus supported bonds, for a total of $24 million.

The capital request, included in Gov. John Kitzhaber's capital budget earlier this year, was supported by Central Oregon legislators Sen. Tim Knopp, and Reps. Jason Conger, John Huffman, Mike McLane  and Gene Whisnant.

It enables OSU-Cascades to take an important step towards its planned expansion to a four-year university serving 3,000 to 5,000 students by 2025.

The enrollment expansion will help OSU meet state educational attainment goals where 40 percent of Oregonians will have a bachelor's degree by 2025.  Bend is the largest metropolitan area in Oregon without a four-year university.

"This is a significant moment in OSU-Cascades' history," said Becky Johnson, Vice President for OSU-Cascades.  "We appreciate the governor's initiative and the state Legislature's investment in the educational, economic and cultural future of Central Oregon."

Philanthropic support to match the bonds totals more than $3.5 million from more than 75 supporters and includes a $1 million gift from The Tykeson Family Charitable Trust. 

"I know that Oregon's legislators were impressed with the generosity and support of Central Oregon's businesses, organizations and individuals, and for the region's shared vision for a university in Bend," Johnson said.   "I have no doubt that community support influenced the outcome."

Steps toward development of the campus are already underway.  A "space needs" study completed in May 2013 determined the campus will require 70,000 to 90,000 square feet of classroom and other facilities by fall 2015, when the first classes of freshmen and sophomores arrive.

The study projected  the campus would require 40 to 60 acres by 2025, including 600,000 square feet of academic, student living and community space, to support its expansion goals over the next 12 years.

Campus officials are actively pursuing a site for OSU-Cascades and are partnering with the City of Bend, Deschutes County, and other stakeholders to evaluate possible locations and impact on the community.

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