Bend Chamber Helps Land $39 Million for OSU-Cascades Academic Building

During the past two legislative sessions, Bend Chamber of Commerce brought the business voice to Salem to secure funding for OSU-Cascades’ next academic building. On April 18, Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 5702 into law, clearing the way for construction of a new building that will be devoted to the study of STEAM subjects – science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

This two-year effort to fund the new building was coordinated with Now4 OSU-Cascades, a local support organization that advocated for the university’s funding through the 2017 and 2018 sessions. The Bend Chamber coordinated written letter campaigns with regional businesses and the chambers of Central Oregon, provided testimony and made frequent trips to meet with state representatives on the university’s behalf. The chamber’s voice lent the perspective of the economic benefits of a 4-year university to a fast-growing, highly diversified economy.

The university provides access to a 4-year degree to the largest underserved area of Oregon, filling the “education desert” in the state. By 2025, OSU-Cascades will contribute nearly $198 million in statewide economic output and 2,100 jobs. To further contribute to the statewide economy and support natural resources management, the OSU-Cascades has committed to use Oregon manufactured wood products – particularly cross-laminated timber – in the construction of the building.

The OSU-Cascades campus in Bend features outstanding faculty in degree programs that reflect Central Oregon’s vibrant and varied economy. Nearly 20 undergraduate majors, 30 minors and three graduate programs include computer science, energy systems engineering, kinesiology, hospitality management and tourism, recreation and adventure leadership, and a new outdoor product design program.

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