Kitzhaber lists college-construction priorities

Of the Associated Press

PORTLAND — Gov. John Kitzhaber released his $242 million priority list for higher education construction projects Tuesday, and Oregon State University would stand to benefit most if lawmakers agree with his recommendations.

The governor said the list developed with college and university officials will help ensure there is sufficient capacity to meet the state's 40-40-20 goal by 2025. The goal is for 40 percent of adult Oregonians to hold a bachelor's or advanced degree, 40 percent to have an associate's degree or postsecondary certificate, and everyone else to have at least graduated high school.

“With projects like new student housing, classrooms and workforce training centers at campuses across the state, we are putting Oregonians back to work and providing our post-secondary students the facilities they need to succeed,” Kitzhaber said in a statement.

The governor's list includes projects at a majority of the state's public universities and community colleges. The construction would be funded by $242 million in bonds to be repaid by Oregon taxpayers.

If lawmakers agree with Kitzhaber's recommendations, Oregon State University would get help with three major projects.

The governor proposes using the state bond money to pay for half of a $65 million classroom building and quad at the Corvallis campus and another $20 million to help build a chemical, biological and environmental engineering building.

He also wants to put $16 million toward a $20 million expansion of Oregon State's campus in Bend. The Board of Higher Education approved a plan last year allowing OSU-Cascades to expand into a four-year school.

In other major projects, Kitzhaber seeks $40 million to renovate and expand Portland State University's School of Business Administration and $17.2 million to build a new College of Education facility at Western Oregon University.

The priority list includes $70 million to be divided among 10 of the state's community colleges. Those projects include $8 million for an applied technology classroom at Chemeketa Community College, $8 million for an industrial arts building at Umpqua Community College, and $8 million apiece for health and science buildings at Rogue Community College and Southwestern Community College.

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