Due to Truth in Site and long processes, the Beavers may be in Cascades Hall another year
Though OSU-Cascades will not meet their original deadline, they will continue their plans to recruit for fall 2015. The delay will only push the site development timeline as OSU-Cascades plans to hire and recruit for fall 2015. The university anticipates only extending the deadline a year with a new completion date of fall 2016.
The land use entitlement process requires public involvement and response, which ultimately pushed the timeframe beyond what was attainable by the original deadline, according to Jane Barker, OSU-Cascades senior project manager.
The plan to delay the campus follows the City of Bend’s decision to send the first phase site plans to a hearings officer in anticipation of an appeal, according to Barker. This decision was made after the organization of an opposition group in early March. The group, Truth in Site, is opposed to the location based on traffic and parking concerns.
Though the expansion site will not be completed by 2015, OSU-Cascades is hiring faculty and recruiting students to begin fall 2015. They will also begin offering the freshman and sophomore level classes through the university and are looking at where to hold those classes as well as house students. Currently, OSU-Cascades uses Cascades Hall on the COCC campus to teach upper-division classes. Now the university is considering renting Cascades Hall another year to also teach the lower-division classes there.
“We will be looking at how we can maximize room efficiency to accommodate for adding freshman and sophomore classes,” Barker said.
The Graduate Research Center currently used by OSU-Cascades doesn’t always have back to back classes held in the classrooms there as it is currently used only for graduate level classes. This is an area, OSU-Cascades would also look at as far as increasing class scheduling efficiency.
OSU-Cascades will also slow down their international student recruiting efforts until the university expansion site has been completed, according to Barker. Those programs will now fully launch the following spring.
“This means we will have fewer international students on-campus fall 2015 than we had previously thought,” Barker said.
Another concern of the university is where to house students as the residence hall for a year without the OSU residence hall completed. There is currently potential for incoming students to live in the COCC dorm, set for completion fall 2015, during their first year at Cascades.
Regardless of what contract negotiations yield, COCC’s first priority will continue to be providing housing options for COCC students, according to Jim Middleton, COCC president.
“This is increasingly important for out-of-area COCC students challenged by the low availability of rentals in Central Oregon,” Middleton said.
When COCC began a business plan for COCC student housing the potential for also housing OSU-Cascades students was not factored into the plan.
“From the start, the business plan for COCC Student Housing did not count on any OSU-Cascades students to achieve our targeted number of residents,” Middleton said. “However, we have remained open to the possibility of a request for housing from OSU-Cascades.”
During contract negotiations COCC and OSU-Cascades will look at options for contracting a set number of rooms for Cascades students in a way that “does not conflict with [COCC’s] priority for COCC students,” according to Middleton.
“We believe we can find strategies that respond to the needs of students from both institutions,” Middleton said.
The early awareness of the potential proposal has been a benefit for both COCC and OSU-Cascades, according to Middleton.
“Identifying this as a possibility fifteen months before opening this facility gives us enough time to review options, develop clear policy and have clear messaging to both COCC and OSU students for fall 2015,” Middleton said.
While the university discusses where to hold classes and house students until the site is completed, they will continue to gather input from the community.
“We’re taking the opportunity to make sure we are engaging the community and getting feedback,” Barker said. “We now have one more time to do that.”
Molly Svendsen | The Broadside