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Oregon Tech’s $12.6 million capital project approved by Legislature, and student affordability, access addressed with investments in tuition relief and retention

Jul 10, 2015
Oregon Tech’s capital project to expand and modernize The Center for Excellence in Engineering and Technology space – including Phase One of the renovation of Cornett Hall approved
The Oregon Institute of Technology’s (Oregon Tech’s) capital project to expand and modernize The Center for Excellence in Engineering and Technology space – including Phase One of the renovation of Cornett Hall – was approved on Monday, July 6 by the Legislature. Oregon Tech’s and the other Oregon public universities’ General Fund budget was approved recently as well, with a total of $700 million, or about a 28% increase over the 2013-15 biennium, to serve the higher education needs of Oregonians.

Chris Maples, Oregon Tech President said, “We are thankful to the Legislature for this investment in Oregon Tech. The capital bonding authority will help our engineering programs and students with a modernized, assessable and safe facility that will serve Oregonians for decades to come. This budget also begins to help us move back to a position where we have the funding to support greater student affordability and on-campus student support services. This is great news for Oregonians seeking an affordable, high-quality degree at Oregon Tech.”

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission will make the final General Fund campus allocations of the budget in the coming weeks. Funding in the 2015-17 budget is earmarked to moderate tuition increases and to boost student retention and graduation outcomes.

The 2015-17 biennium also brings new costs to Oregon Tech due to the closure of the Oregon University System Chancellor’s Office. This includes certain mandatory areas such as legal support, internal audit, and some shared services as well, including contracts and risk management.

Cornett Hall Renovation
Expanding and modernizing The Center for Excellence in Engineering and Technology space, including renovation of Cornett Hall, will be done in three phases. Phase One was funded this biennium, and other phases will be funded in future biennia. 
Maples said, “The rewards and economic return of the Cornett renovation include increased access to our STEM programs for Oregon’s increasing underserved student populations by utilizing multi-use spaces and, state-of-the-art applied teaching methods, coupled student support services. It will also improve opportunities for coordinated lab utilization with the regional community college, and create opportunities to partner with industry to ensure career opportunities for graduates. Enhancing Oregon Tech’s nationally ranked undergraduate engineering education is important to the state as about 70% of Oregon Tech graduates remain in Oregon. Our community will also benefit with the creation of about 100 jobs in Klamath Falls for Phase One of the project. We’re excited to begin!”
Phase One of the plan, beginning in 2015-17, will be new construction of the Engineering and Technology Building.  This includes a two-level 40,000 gsf building directly adjacent to Cornett Hall.  The cost of Phase One is estimated at $12.632 million which includes design and planning costs for all phases. Funding sources will include $10.9 million of state general fund ($750K of XI-G and $10.17M XI-Q Bonds) and $1.7 million of Oregon Tech institutional funds. The State of Oregon pays the debt service on the bonds, except for the $750,000 for which Oregon Tech is responsible.
Construction of Phase One will allow the Cornett Hall building renovation to be phased in without affecting program delivery. The special purpose engineering spaces such as the Wind Tunnel, Tensile Strength Testing Machine and Welding Labs are housed in Cornett Hall, making it impractical both physically and financially to close the entire building for renovation and still deliver required programmatic content. 
Phase Two will include expanding and renovating the east wing of Cornett Hall to 63,500 gsf.  The cost of this phase is estimated at $18.3M. The third and final phase will expand and renovate the west wing of Cornett Hall to 56,500 gsf.  The cost of this phase is estimated at $17.2M.  Both Phases Two and Three include seismic and ADA upgrades.

About Oregon Tech
Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology is the only public institute of technology in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Tech provides degree programs in engineering and health technologies, management, communication, and applied sciences that prepare students to be effective participants in their professional, public, and international communities through hands-on learning. Oregon Tech has a full-service, residential campus in Klamath Falls and an urban, industry-focused campus in Wilsonville. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more about Oregon Institute of Technology.
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