OSU-Cascades is moving to the construction phase of a $36 million campus land development project. In the next couple of years, the campus will have what’s called an Innovation District that will give students a jump-start into their careers.
“It’s an incubator and accelerator for early-stage businesses in Central Oregon that will give our students a chance to work with those companies as interns,” chancellor and dean of the school Sherm Bloomer said. “It will give our faculty a chance to work with those companies. It will give those companies access to those people and their abilities and to shared spaces and equipment.”
OSU-Cascades will begin construction on the development in October. The first phase of construction will span eight acres. Up to six buildings will be built on a former pumice mine and demolition landfill, where old construction waste such as cones and rebar was dumped.
“Once we identify potential private partners, it’s going to be about 18 months for us to get the land build-ready and then probably about two years for that partner to build and open up the first building,” Bloomer said.
This is only the second phase of a five-phase expansion project at the campus.
“We’re taking this land which really was almost undevelopable, given its size and its scope. With support from the State of Oregon, support from the university and support from a grant from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), we’re going to turn it into land which contributes to the education of students,” Bloomer said.
When it’s all said and done, the entire development will span 24 acres. It will include recreational fields, a gathering area for events and research buildings.