HEDCO anniversary marks a decade of innovation and service

The College of Education's HEDCO Building at night

The celebration is scheduled for fall, but this summer officially marks the 10th anniversary of the HEDCO Education Building.

Part of a $50.5 million construction project, the state-of-the-art facility has transformed the College of Education, created an iconic entrance to the west side of campus and accelerated the college’s far-reaching efforts to advance education and social services.

“The architecture is stunning,” said Randy Kamphaus, the college’s dean. “However, the most important benefit of this building is how well it serves our people and their critical work on behalf of children and families. Since it opened, this impressive facility has elevated the college’s teaching, learning, research and community outreach tremendously. It has been, and continues to be, a catalyst for success.”

The building is named for California's HEDCO Foundation. The foundation's gift of $10 million, along with a $12.5 million gift from Lorry I. Lokey, helped secure the Oregon Legislature's authorization of $19.4 million in general obligation bonds. Private gifts covered 60 percent of the project costs.

“Together, the HEDCO Foundation, individual donors, and the Oregon Legislature made this historic construction project possible,” Kamphaus said. “On behalf of our faculty and the university, I would like to express our gratitude and acknowledge the visionary leaders who made it happen, including my predecessors Michael Bullis and Martin Kaufman.”

What began as a plan to expand and modernize facilities overwhelmed by a tripling of enrollment led to a historic renovation of the entire 9.8-acre site. The first construction for the college since 1980, the project updated all the buildings within the education complex, including the Clinical Services Building and the Education Annex, known informally as “the little red schoolhouse.”

It also renovated the college's historic brick buildings, naming the three connected wings the Lorry I. Lokey Education Building in appreciation of his investment in the project. 

At four stories counting the basement parking structure, the HEDCO building increased the college's space within the complex by two-thirds and united its five clinical training programs under one roof. It was designed by THA Architecture of Portland, now called Hacker Architects.

Since the building opened in 2009, the college has served an average of 943 undergraduate students each year, a 33 percent increase over the prior decade. The building continues to provide an ideal learning environment for students who go on to successful careers in teaching, couples and family therapy, speech pathology, school administration and counseling, research, and more. The college is also a resource for current teachers, who must maintain continuing education requirements.

The HEDCO building has also helped the college continue its stellar track record for garnering grant dollars. Agencies are more likely to award proposals from organizations with suitable facilities, and the HEDCO Clinic is a big plus when applying for state and federal research funding. In fiscal year 2017, the college was responsible for 53 percent of the university’s grant-related funding.

One of the most important benefits, Kamphaus said, has been to help the college recruit, retain and develop a world-class faculty. Visitors are impressed with the building, he said. And facilities — functional offices, convenient meeting rooms and practical work spaces — are big morale builders for the entire faculty.

Since Kamphaus started as dean five years ago, the number of tenured faculty members in the college has increased by 35 percent. The building’s flexible design has accommodated the growth well, he said, making it possible to reconfigure the interior layout without affecting the overall aesthetics or functionality.

Kamphaus is confident the facilities will continue to help the college realize its ambitious goals for the next decade, and longer.

HEDCO Clinic

This state-of-the-art university training clinic offers children and families behavioral health services, hosting more than 8,000 client appointments a year. Students seeking careers as couples and family therapists, speech language pathologists, and counseling and school psychologists gain practical experience. For families, the clinic offers one space to access many different services. Some of the simplest amenities added during construction, such as parking, space for children to play while waiting and a washroom, have made big differences. The setting is customized for the clinics as well as the college’s groundbreaking research on concussion management and recovery, speech pathology, stroke patients, autism and more.

High tech home

Designed to make teaching, long-distance learning and collaboration easy, the building’s leading-edge technology was also planned with upgrades and expansion in mind. This adaptable infrastructure has enabled the college to keep important tools up to date and relevant over the years.

Learning community

The HEDCO building was designed to promote collaboration and foster community, and informal learning spaces throughout the building reflect this approach. The Swindells Lobby features a fireplace, cafe and a learning commons with a computer lab. Wide hallways encourage students to interact with their peers as well as faculty members. Comfortable, flexible spaces were designed to create a home away from home.

By all accounts, these ideas are working well in practice. Throughout the building, learning spills out of labs and classrooms and into the hallways. Multifunctional learning spaces serve an array of configurations for meetings, classes and group projects. Chance encounters blossom into impromptu meetings and discussions, which are significant educational experiences. One of the earliest projects on campus to fully adopt this design approach — now a national trend for universities — the HEDCO building has served as an example for other new construction on campus.  

All under one roof

When it first opened, the HEDCO building united five clinical training programs in one building, encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration — an approach that has been highly successful. The new facility also has enabled the college to offer better services for students, faculty members and staff. Students and faculty members can easily find the information and resources they need. Community members and prospective students can ask questions, get directions or start a tour at the front desk.

Welcoming families

As home for the College of Education, the building serves as a bridge between the university and the families, communities and professions it serves. Walk through the HEDCO building on any given day, and you’ll see preschoolers playing in the grassy courtyard, parents bringing children to an appointment or students and faculty members collaborating on research that will improve lives. By creating a functional, welcoming environment, the building helps the college serve the community and fulfill its teaching and research missions.

—By Ed Dorsch, University Communications