BEND, Ore. - (Update: Master plan unveiled; concerns, reactions; adding link to presentation)
Oregon State University-Cascades plans to expand its campus to 128 adjacent acres, and on Wednesday evening released the details of a 20-year master plan it will be submitting to the city to make that happen.
The current campus on Bend's Westside is on 10 acres and is home to about 1,200 students. The master plan maps out plans for academic and campus life, as well as residential and research space.
Bike and pedestrian paths, recreation fields, nature fields, energy production, road connections, parking and public plazas will be included in the design.
The growth of the campus is expected to accommodate 5,000 more students.
It plans to expand onto a former 46-acre pumice mine and a former 72-acre Deschutes County demolition-debris landfill.
The school said it will focus on adding one more academic building within the next four years, if they get the funding they need from the state Legislature in the next couple of years.
Vice President Becky Johnson said the college has a big impact on the region and gives access to students who can't travel far away.
"A lot of students wouldn't just be able to pick up and move to Corvallis or La Grande if they didn't have an opportunity here," Johnson said. "The other part is a workforce. We are growing so quickly, in terms of our businesses, and a lot of times they have challenges recruiting into this region because housing is expensive. If you can hire and grow a workforce, it's really great for the community as well."
Some of the main concerns expressed by the public were about students parking along the streets and taking too much space, where the money will come from for the expansion, public transit routes, and whether or not there could be toxic material buried in the landfill.
One current student, Donny Enoch, said he was conflicted about the expansion at first, but now understands why it's necessary.
"I've been a student through the process, been to different meetings, and seen the future plans and what they're going to do," Enoch said. "I feel like it is necessary to develop the culture you get with four-year institutions that you don't see with one building we had at the COCC campus."
Bend resident Randall Barna, who owns commercial property along Century Drive, said part of the property that will be developed is along his back fence, so he was interested to see what the plan is.
Overall, Barna said he believes the expansion is a good thing and will provide a great experience for students, and is something Bend needs.
"When they have a bigger campus with a lot of different exits, that will be better than just the one exit they have now," Barna said. "I I think that traffic will get spread out just fine and it will mitigate the issue, and I think a lot of people are over-worried about the traffic."
According to the university, about 30 percent of current students are commuting into Bend from neighboring towns such as Redmond, Madras, and Sisters.
A link to the master plan presentation can be found here: http://osucascades.edu/campus-expansion/future-campus/resources
Here's the school's Nov. 3 news release about the plans and meeting:
Oregon State University–Cascades announced Friday it will unveil a master plan for the expanded 128-acre university campus and seek community input at a public meeting scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15.
The university said in Friday's news release that the master plan reflects a nearly two-year long range development planning process during which community member attendance at meetings totaled 1,500.
Input was gathered across areas including sustainability, community integration, health and wellness, and arts, culture and enrichment, as well as campus access locations and building placement.
The meeting is in advance of the university’s submission of master plan and zone change applications to the city of Bend for the proposed expanded campus bounded by SW Chandler Avenue, SW Century Dr./14th Avenue, SW Simpson Avenue and Mt. Washington Drive.
The development comes days after Deschutes County commissioners approved the $1 sale of its adjacent former demolition landfill to the school, with an estimated site cleanup tab of $4.3 million.
The campus design includes approximately 1.36 million gross square feet of academic, campus life, residential and research space. It also includes 700,000 square feet for an innovation district integrating commercial/retail and industry partnerships and middle-market housing.
Proposed campus amenities include dedicated pedestrian and bicycle pathways, recreation fields, nature areas, energy production, road connections, parking and public plazas.
The development will occur in multiple phases to accommodate enrollment growth up to 5,000 students, officials said.
The public meeting will take place at the OSU-Cascades Graduate & Research Center, Rm. 209, located at 650 SW Columbia St. in Bend. For information contact 541-322-3196 or email@example.com.