PSU’s campus will expand to South Waterfront next year

Oregon Health and Science University and the Oregon University System have teamed up on a $295 million project, bringing a brand-new facility to Portland State students in 2014.

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Oregon Health and Science University and the Oregon University System have teamed up on a $295 million project, bringing a brand-new facility to Portland State students in 2014.

It’s called the Collaborative Life Sciences Building, and that’s not just a clever title. The new building aims to raise scientific education and collaboration to an unprecedented level.

The CLSB will facilitate opportunities for students from PSU, OHSU and Oregon State University to study together under one roof.

Students will also have the opportunity to work with some of the region’s top science experts in state-of-the-art classrooms, lecture halls and labs.

“PSU is co-owner of this building, and it will become part of our campus,” said Dan Zalkow, executive director of Campus Planning, Construction and Real Estate at PSU.

“There won’t be an increase in lab fees for courses taken at CLSB versus the main campus,” he added.

The CLSB is being constructed on 19 acres of land at the South Waterfront, donated to OHSU by the Schnitzer family.

“The faculty is extremely enthusiastic about the collaboration with PSU,” said Mark Williams, vice president of Campus Development and Administration at OHSU.

“There will be undergraduate students working with or near scientists who are doing cutting-edge research.”

The CLSB will house approximately 185,000 square feet of education space as well as a new 400-seat lecture hall, which will be the largest on PSU’s campus.

One major benefit of the extra space is a sizable increase in classroom capacity. “Some science courses are really limited,” explained Mai Moua, a student studying health sciences at PSU. “It will be nice to have bigger classes so you don’t have to wait so long to get in.”

The building design itself has been a major collaborative effort and is being led by architecture firm SERA. The goal is to create a building that is effectively used and aesthetically inviting.

“The atrium will be all glass and designed to put education on display to the community,” said Alene Davis, architect project leader at SERA. “It will be a hub of learning activity visible from the street.”

The CLSB is on a fast track for usage and will be opened in phases. It is expected to be available for use to PSU students by spring of 2014.

Other portions of the building, such as OHSU’s School of Dentistry in the Skourtes Tower, will open at later dates.

Construction of the CLSB is being funded by a unique public/private partnership model with a total budget of $295 million.

Approximately $210 million of that funding is provided by state bonds, OHSU and TriMet. The rest came from private donations.

Although expediting completion and staying within the budget are major considerations for the project, sustainability efforts have been at the forefront of its design.

“We’re working to make this a LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] Platinum [certified] building, meaning it will have the highest rating of energy efficiency and environmental standards that we can get,” Williams said.

Meeting LEED Platinum certification standards will include employing storm water management, ecoroofs and atrium heat recovery.

But among the highest areas of sustainability will be the building’s accessibility.

“Part of the design plan was to provide alternative transportation methods, for PSU students to go back and forth,” Davis said.

The Portland Streetcar already has an established line connecting the main campus to CLSB, and is free for PSU students.

There will also be several hundred bike spaces for those who ride to the building, as well as a bike-sharing program with stations at both locations.

For those who need to drive to CLSB, a two-level parking garage with approximately 400 spaces will be included with the building.

“Discussions with OHSU are still in progress, but we aim to have hourly, daily and permit parking options available at CLSB,” Zalkow said.

The project has also spurred other new projects, which are helping to stimulate the city’s economy by providing construction jobs.

One such project is TriMet’s current construction of a new bridge and MAX line, which will have a station directly in front of CLSB.

For all the people working hard to bring this project to fruition, the positive effects CLSB will have on Portland appear to be keeping them motivated.

“We’re producing infrastructure and the capacity to educate people in the future,” Williams said. “We’re going to wind up with some really wonderful assets for the community when we’re done.”