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The need to replace defective cross-laminated timber panels has pushed back the estimated completion date of Oregon State University’s George W. Peavy Forest Science Center by another three months.

“We’re looking at the fall of 2019,” OSU Vice President Steve Clark said this week.

Meant to be a showcase for CLT panels and other made-in-Oregon mass timber products, the three-story classroom and laboratory building was originally targeted for completion in the fall of 2017, but that timeline has been repeatedly modified amid rising construction costs and other issues.

The most recent setback began with a March 14 incident in which a 4-foot-by-20-foot section of CLT subflooring delaminated, causing two layers of the massive seven-ply panel to fall. No one was hurt, but construction was slowed as OSU brought in outside consulting engineers to determine what went wrong.

The issue was traced to a glitch in the manufacturing process at the DR Johnson mill in Riddle, where preheating of 2-by-6 boards resulted in improper curing of adhesives holding the cross-laminated layers of wood together.

The situation was quickly corrected by the manufacturer, but CLT panels that had already been installed had to be evaluated for potential problems.

Before the panel failure in March, the target completion date for the three-story, 80,000-square-foot building had already been pushed back to spring of 2019. In late May, when general contractor Andersen Construction began removing some of the massive CLT panels for replacement, it was revised to summer, but the testing and replacement process has taken longer than expected, and the building’s opening is now set for fall of next year.

To date, Clark said, 40 faulty panels have been replaced and another 45 have been identified for replacement. Analysis of test data and quality control reports is still being done on some of the remaining panels, a process expected to take about two more weeks.

In the meantime, however, work has begun on a related project, the A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory.

The 15,000-square-foot lab, named for the co-founder of Sierra Pacific Industries following a $6 million donation from the company, is being described as a state-of-the-art testing and research facility.

“The facility will increase OSU’s competitiveness for large-scale research grant proposals and for public-private partnerships that support development of mass timber products capable of being manufactured in the Pacific Northwest,” Clark said.

A manufacturing bay will house computer-controlled robotics and fabrication equipment for workforce training, design testing and educational programs and will be available for privately sponsored industry projects, he added.

Concrete footings and foundations for the building have been poured over the last several days, and a reinforced “strong floor” for testing elements of multistory mass timber structures will be poured on Friday.

Previously scheduled for completion in April of next year, Clark said the lab is now expected to open in September or October.

Both buildings, along with an 1,160-square-foot structure for storing field instruments, are part of a new Oregon Forest Science Complex announced by OSU’s College of Forestry in January 2015.

The project was originally expected to cost $60 million, but the budget has ballooned by nearly one-third to $79.5 million, in part because of nationwide increases in construction costs. In an effort to keep costs from spiraling still further, the Forest Science Complex has been scaled back somewhat from the original concept, in terms of both square footage and building features.

Reporter Bennett Hall can be reached at 541-758-9529 or bennett.hall@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at @bennetthallgt.

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Special Projects Editor

Special Projects Editor, Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald