OSU to begin building green residence hall

March 16, 2010 10:15 am  • 

Oregon State University will begin construction in May on a new five-story living center that will be a combination residence hall and education center intended to be a model of sustainability.

The 148,000-square-foot structure at 17th Street and Western Boulevard on the south end of campus is set to open in September 2011. Its occupants will be roughly 70 percent international students and 30 percent students from Oregon and elsewhere in the United States.

It will be home to some 350 international and domestic students, provide new classrooms, and contain offices for faculty and support services, a classroom auditorium with about 110 seats and retail space for a coffee shop and a market that will include fresh fruit and produce.

The new living/learning center also will utilize heat-recovery ventilation, high-efficiency heating, rainwater reclamation, and a host of other sustainable features designed to exceed the state’s energy conservation guidelines by as much as 60 percent.

The center is on target to earn a LEED gold rating under the U.S. Green Building Council’s “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” system, according to Brian Thorsness, OSU’s director of business services. Two small houses, located on the site, will be “deconstructed” and the materials salvaged will be reused or recycled, Thorsness added.

The Portland architecture firm Mahlum designed the new center. Fortis Construction, also of Portland, is the general contractor.

“This is part of the university’s plan to internationalize our campus and provide a diversity of global perspectives that will enrich the educational experience for all of our students,” said Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president.

Randhawa said OSU’s strategic plan calls for doubling the university’s international enrollment from about 4.8 percent of the student body in 2009 to 10 percent within the next five years. OSU’s overall enrollment for its Corvallis campus reached nearly 22,000 students last fall term.