Online exclusive: Rec center partly owned by City

Students may be surprised to find out that a popular building on campus is not entirely owned by Portland State.

Students may be surprised to find out that a popular building on campus is not entirely owned by Portland State. Of its 13 units, the City of Portland owns one unit of the Academic and Student Recreation Center.

“Because of the extreme costs associated with new building construction, PSU develops relationships with private and other public entities to enter into joint ownership of buildings,” said Don Johansen, assistant director for Property and Risk Management at PSU. “This, in turn, helps reduce PSU’s construction costs as well as [lowering] ongoing building operating costs with other building owners.”

Johansen administers the property management program at PSU, which means that he is a key player in managing PSU buildings that have retail lease and commercial lease tenants.

Because the building is operated as a “condominium,” there are rules and regulations involved that other purely academic buildings on campus are not held accountable for, Johansen said. These rules are developed and administered by an association and board of directors.

According to Johansen, this model of operation will likely be applied to much of the new construction expected at PSU.

However, he said that those who use the ASRC and the classrooms located inside need not worry about the regulations.

“While the condominium association operates the building in the best interests of the owners and tenants of the building, the rules do affect the use of certain areas of the building, both inside and outside,” Johansen said. “Overall, the building is accessible to PSU students, faculty, staff and the public.”

On a similar note, the operations inside the ASRC remain purely decided by PSU staff and faculty, according to Alex Accetta, director of Campus Recreation.

“While an outside company might [help] manage the ‘building,’ they do not manage the day-to-day operations of the student rec center in any way,” he said.

Some have wondered whether this ownership issue has kept the ASRC signage off of the building, but Johansen denies that this is the reason.

“With a new building, there are many, many issues to work through related to building systems operations, getting tenants moved in and operational, and so on,” Johansen said. “Placing the building’s name on the building was not forgotten, only set back, as other more pressing building operating issues required attention.”

According to Johansen, there will be a sign for the ASRC placed in the Urban Plaza entrance in the near future.

This single unit not owned by the city can be found on the 5th floor of the building, and is filled by the City of Portland Archives.

“The city archive owns their space and PSU is pleased to have them as a co-owner within the ASRC building,” Johansen said.

Johansen encourages students to explore the City of Portland Archives, which is open Monday through Friday. Visitors do not need to make an appointment in order to sift through the 8,000 cubic feet of material.

The archives include historical data pertaining to the development of city government, collected since 1851.