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Oregon universities to create jobs, educational opportunities in new OUS/OHSU Collaborative Life Sciences Building

Gov. John Kitzhaber and the presidents of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Portland State University (PSU) and Oregon State University (OSU) broke ground today on the OUS/OHSU Collaborative Life Sciences Building, an innovative project that will bring cutting-edge science education and research along with additional jobs to Portland’s South Waterfront.

The $295 million project is the first on this scale to combine the resources of multiple universities to offer the best possible educational opportunities to Oregon students. The building will expand much-needed life sciences, pharmacy, medical and dental education in Oregon with 500,000 square feet of instructional and research space for OHSU, PSU and OSU. The building will be the first development at the OHSU Schnitzer Campus, 20 acres of land on Portland’s South Waterfront donated by the Schnitzer family in 2004 and the future home of OHSU’s educational faculties.

“This construction project alone will create the equivalent of 250 full time jobs,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “This is just the beginning of the economic benefits - down the road, we will realize the advantages of the highly educated workforce it will help us to produce and it will firm up Oregon’s place as a leader in innovation, research, and science.”

The building will have an immediate positive impact on the Portland construction job market. About 2,500 people will work on the project site, with as many as 500 on site at one time. When completed, the building will allow the universities to:

  • Increase OHSU's medical school class from 120 to 160 students, dental school class from 75 to 90 students and physician assistant class sizes from 40 to 50 students. Doing so will help combat the ongoing shortage of medical professionals in the state.
  • Increase OSU and OHSU's pharmacy program capacity from 90 to 115 students.
  • Increase PSU's most popular undergraduate biology and physics lectures from 280 students each to as many as 500 students.
  • Replace aging dental training facilities on Marquam Hill with the new Skourtes Tower.
  • Expand OHSU’s simulation education for health professionals in training so that future doctors, nurses and providers are trained in medical teams, similar to the teams they will later take part in when treating real patients.

In addition, the building will have lab space for research, instruction, clinic simulations and shared instrumentation, such as electron microscopy, as well as retail space and a transit plaza for the new MAX line to Milwaukie.

The project is funded with state bonds through the Oregon University System ($110 million), OHSU philanthropy ($83 million), OHSU institutional funding ($92 million) and TriMet funding ($10 million).

The building is expected to open in two phases in fall 2013 and winter 2014.

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