The Linn-Benton Community College board has approved a land purchase agreement that will allow the college to move forward with its plan to expand its Benton Center in Corvallis.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday in Albany to implement a plan to buy 2.5 acres of land and a 12,000-square building at 931 N.W. Reiman St. The property, currently used by the First Student school transportation company, would be used for both parking and additional classroom space by the college.

The $3 million sale agreement is subject to the college finding alternative space for the bus firm and meeting land-use regulations of the city of Corvallis.

“We appreciate the guidance and feedback from the community as we’ve looked for our best options to serve the needs of Corvallis,” LBCC President Greg Hamann said.

Hamann noted the assistance of Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber, City Manager Mark Shepard and the nine councilors. “(They) have been as supportive as they could be as we’ve explored our options and heard from the community at-large," Hamann said.

The Benton Center expansion is being paid for by a $34 million bond measure passed by the voters in November 2014. The bond money also will pay for new facilities and other infrastructure improvements at college facilities in Albany and Lebanon.

The college twice suggested the use of city-owned Washington Park for the expansion, but community opposition led the college to withdraw its interest in the park on both occasions.

LBCC officials said that the addition of the Reiman property will allow for a doubling of parking capacity and that the existing building could be used for classroom space.

“We’ll engage the community as we explore the possibilities,” said Dave Henderson, vice president of finance and operations. “This property opens up new possibilities, and it ensures we can be a better neighbor and serve Corvallis and Benton County better than we have before.”

Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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