Building Oregon

Photograph courtesy 2014 University of Oregon Infographics Lab, Department of Geography. Online at

Do you remember standing in line at Mac Court to register for classes? Can you conjure up the smell of fresh-baked bread wafting across campus from Williams Bakery? Is there a book or two on your shelf purchased from the UO bookstore in Chapman Hall? Did you ever meet a friend at the corner of 15th and Agate, when Hayward Field was marked by a weedy lot and dilapidated chain-link fence? Or play tennis across from the Greek houses off Alder? Or drive through the middle of campus on 13th Avenue?

If so, you might say the same thing Tim Rawlings '87 did when he accompanied his son Austin (now a freshman) on a campus tour last spring, his first visit since his own student days in the 1980s.

"Wow, have things changed."

Over the past decade, an $800-million surge of construction has resulted in the completion of nearly 40 building projects totaling about 2 million square feet of new and renovated space on the UO campus. And more is on the way.

"Universities, like great cities, are never really done," says Chris Ramey '81, the UO's associate vice president for campus planning and real estate. "They are in a constant state of remaking themselves." Ramey notes that more than a third of the university's building space has been constructed in the past 25 years, "a staggering amount" for an institution founded in 1876.

With enrollment at about 24,500 (nearly 40 percent higher than in Rawlings's day) and evolving technologies and teaching approaches demanding changes in the spaces that house classrooms, laboratories, libraries—and students themselves—we can expect the hard hats, cranes, and construction fencing to stick around for a while.

Following are some highlights from the UO's 21st-century building—and a preview of what's yet to come.

Photograph by Lowell Tindell
Lillis Business Complex (2003–2010) Lillis Hall, dedicated in October 2003, connects the recently renovated Peterson, Anstett, and Chiles Halls to create a modern home for the UO's Lundquist College of Business. The airy, 136,000-square-foot building was the first in the Eugene-Springfield area to achieve LEED silver certification for its sustainability features.
Photograph by Jack Liu
Lorry I. Lokey Laboratories (2007) This facility is perfectly suited for research at nanoscales. Built underground and set upon bedrock that minimizes vibration and electromagnetic interference, the 26,500-square-foot facility is designed to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers in different scientific fields, and between the university and private sector.
Photograph by Jack Liu
Global Scholars Hall (2012) This 185,000-square-foot residence hall houses 450 students in a community that offers residents many opportunities for intellectual and cultural engagement, including several immersive language programs. There's a resident faculty scholar, a first-floor library commons, an international dining hall, and onsite classes, film screenings, lectures, and other activities.
Photograph by Michael McDermott
Allen Hall (2013) The $15-million renovation of the School of Journalism and Communication's home united Allen Hall's 1922 and 1954 wings and created a bright, open space that increased square footage for the school's 2,000-plus majors by 40 percent—without increasing energy consumption. Taking a cue from multimedia newsrooms and PR and advertising agencies, the space features glass-walled classrooms, multiple collaborative workspaces, and easily accessible technology in a round-the-clock learning environment.
Photograph by Jack Liu
Robert and Beverly Lewis Integrative Science Building (2012)Reflecting the UO's interdisciplinary approach to the sciences, this building is designed to encourage research that is not defined by departmental boundaries. The $65-million, 103,000-square-foot facility is part of the UO's Lorry I. Lokey Science Complex, which brings together biologists, chemists, psychologists, and other researchers and connects the adjacent Lokey Laboratories, Huestis Hall, Streisinger Hall, and Klamath Hall science buildings.
Photograph by Jeremy Bitterman
Hatfield-Dowlin Complex (2013) The UO's new football training and operations center is the third in a trio of athletics projects that also includes the 2007 Athletic Medical Center and the 2010 John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student-Athletes. The architecturally bold building features classroom and training facilities specifically designed to enhance the flow, speed, and innovation for which the Ducks have become known.

Under Construction

The UO building boom continues, with multiple projects currently underway or scheduled to break ground this spring. Among them are:

Erb Memorial Union renovation The original, 1950 EMU building will be renovated and the 1970s-era addition will be replaced, creating more usable space for student programming, academic functions, and entertainment. Student fees will cover $90 million of the project, with another $5 million to be raised in private gifts.

Student Recreation Center Construction is in progress to double the size of the Rec Center, adding two swimming pools, a three-court gym, and expanded cardio and weight-training facilities.

Allan Price Science Commons and Research Library Adding 3,500 square feet of above-ground space and renovating the existing, 30,000-square-foot library, this project includes a digital technology lab and discipline-specific science rooms. It is currently in the predesign phase.

Museum of Natural and Cultural History expansion A $990,000 capital construction budget appropriation from the state legislature will provide funding for additional storage, equipment, and exhibition space, in part to accommodate the transfer of the Jensen Arctic collection of more than 5,000 artifacts from Western Oregon University.

Central Kitchen and Woodshop Still in the predesign phase, this design-build project will create an efficient, centralized facility for the university's kitchen, catering, and woodshop operations that are currently scattered across campus.

Classroom Expansion: Straub and Earl Halls Scheduled for completion in December 2014, this renovation and expansion will result in the addition of 700 new classroom seats, including a 500-plus-seat lecture hall.

—By Joe Mosley and Ann Wiens