Capital construction subcommittee receives testimony on higher education capital projects

February 19, 2014 02:28 am

On February 14, the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Capital Construction held a public hearing on eight higher education capital construction projects currently under consideration by the legislature. The University of Oregon is requesting funding for two projects: 1) $2.1 million in bonds to repair a utility tunnel; and 2) $7 million in bonds to address deferred maintenance and seismic issues in Chapman Hall, which houses the Robert D. Clark Honors College. Chris Ramey, associate vice president for campus planning and real estate, and Garrett West, president of the Clark Honors College Student Association, testified in support of the projects. The summaries below provide more detail about the UO’s capital requests.

Utility Tunnel Repair

The Franklin Utility Tunnel connects the University of Oregon’s campus to its main power plant. The tunnel provides critical utility services to half of the University of Oregon’s campus. It runs beneath Franklin Boulevard, a major thoroughfare in Lane County.  Last year, an independent engineering firm’s study concluded that the tunnel’s structure must be addressed soon to avoid potential structural failure, possible collapse, or interruption of utility services to half of the UO campus, and potential traffic problems in the city of Eugene.

The University of Oregon is asking for $2.1 million in XI-Q bonds to address this need. The project will create 19 jobs and would begin in September 2014.

Chapman Hall

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Chapman Hall, which has remained essentially untouched since it was built in 1939.

Funding is needed to address the growing list of worn out and failing systems – windows, heating and ventilation, electrical and plumbing all need to be repaired or replaced. The repairs would also address the building’s seismic issues, energy efficiency, safety, and ADA accessibility. The renovation will also create more and modern learning spaces that would better suit the needs of the 1900 students, more than 70% of whom are Oregonians who use the building every year.

The University of Oregon is asking for $2.5 million in XI-G bonds and $4.5 million in XI-Q bonds for this project. This project would create 86 jobs and could begin in early 2015.