THE BIG NEWS
Oregon State University-Cascades Campus got approval to become a four-year university today and also received backing for a $16 million budget request that will help the school relocate to the area near the old Mt. Bachelor Park and Ride.
“We are appreciative of this vote of confidence in OSU-Cascades,” said Becky Johnson, leader of OSU-Cascades in Bend, in a news release sent today from the school.
Though the decision from the Oregon State Board of Higher Education was not unexpected, it is a major victory for Johnson and other Bend leaders who have pushed hard to gain support for expanding the school into Oregon’s next four-year campus.
In recent months, individuals, business owners and leaders of organizations pledged a total of about $1.5 million in gifts to OSU-Cascades. School officials had hoped to raise $1 million to prove to the state higher education board that Bend wanted this four-year university and were thrilled with the outpouring of support.
Bend leaders of every political stripe expect the expanded university to become a long term, stable economic engine for the community.
OSU-Cascades had been offering courses at the junior and senior level since opening in 2001 and relied on Central Oregon Community College to provide freshman and sophomore level instruction.
Starting in the fall of 2015, OSU-Cascades will offer its own full slate of entry-level courses in American studies, liberal studies, psychology and social science, according to the news release.
It is not yet clear when OSU-Cascades might make the move from the building it leases from COCC on the COCC campus to new buildings above the Deschutes River near Columbia Drive. But school officials said they expect the university to need about 90,000 more square feet of space.
The $16 million budget request approved by the higher ed board today will be sent to the Oregon Legislature for approval in its next legislative session as part of the entire higher education budget request. If the money is approved, OSU-Cascades expects to receive $8 million in other funds from donors and other outside revenue streams to help build out its future campus, according to the news release.
To learn more about the school's expansion visit the OSU-Cascades website.