Approved building bonds put new student center, residence hall back on track
Oregon State University will receive funds to build the Student Experience Center and a residence hall, after all.
Lawmakers passed a set of bills at the end of the Legislature’s short interim session, which adjourned Monday night. They approved millions of dollars in IX-F bonds for the new student center, a remodel of the Memorial Union’s east wing and a 270-bed residence hall.
Student fees will pay back the $47.2 million student center and $9.18 million renovation. Room and board fees will cover the $29 million residence hall.
Lawmakers put the projects on hold after the end of the last legislative session in June over concerns about the state’s ability to carry additional debt. OSU President Ed Ray, students and Oregon University System officials testified on behalf of the projects in front of the Legislature’s Joint Ways and Means Committee in November.
Another OSU construction project — a classroom building — was also put on hold at the end of the last session, but the university plans to pitch the project during next year’s legislative session.
The news of the projects’ approval was great news for the university, especially for student groups involved in the student center project.
“They saw the need early on and worked to make this project come to life,” said Tiffany Perkins, an OSU senior who co-chaired the student committee that helped the project pass an initial student vote.
Students voted in May 2010 to pay $48 a term beginning last fall to pay off the bond. With funding secured, students will be charged the fee beginning spring term, and construction will begin January 2013, said Michael Henthorne, the director of the MU.
The new building will replace Snell Hall, built in 1959 as housing to accommodate the enrollment booms of the post-World War II and Korean War era. It now houses various student organizations and offices but it has numerous major structural deficits.
Contact Gazette-Times reporter Gail Cole at 541-758-9510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.