PSU seeks state funding for two new buildings

New art + design building is second priority

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Portland State University Art Building. Brian McGloin/PSU Vanguard

Portland State announced this week it will request state funds next month from the Higher Education Coordinating Commission for two new buildings on campus.

According to Associate Vice President for Planning, Construction and Real Estate Dan Zalkow, the first funding priority is a major renovation and expansion to Science Building One on SW 11th Ave. and SW Mill St. The second priority is the School of Art + Design’s Art Building and Art Annex on SW 5th Ave. and SW Lincoln St.

The university hopes for enough state money to fund an $83 million project to demolish the Stratford Hall dormitory to make room for a 30,000 square foot expansion of SB1. The Art Building renovation would involve demolishing the current Art Building and Annex and adding space from the Ponderosa Pine trailer pod to make way for a bigger building.

All three buildings, along with Cramer Hall, “have the largest amount of deferred maintenance per square foot on campus,” Zalkow said. “By that I mean they have the most building systems and equipment that would either ideally be fully replaced [or] significantly modernized.”

These plans are not new, Zalkow added. When PSU requested funds for the $100 million proposed education and health center replacing a parking lot at SW 4th Ave. and SW Montgomery St. two years ago, the university also requested funds for both SB1 and the A + D buildings.

“This time we worked with the Capital Advisory Committee, which includes a dozen individuals including representatives from [Associated Students of PSU] and faculty senate to assess all our options and these two options, again, rose to the top of the list as our greatest needs,” Zalkow said.

Zalkow added that the university usually expects the HECC to fund at least one project every year. However, he said the PSU Foundation has already been seeking potential donors for both projects.

Fundraising starts “as soon as [fundraisers] know a project is of interest to the university,” Zalkow said. “That helps us determine how big the project can be.”

A + D students and faculty detailed their concerns regarding the current art buildings in previous Portland State Vanguard coverage. Arts practices students feel the current buildings are too small to house the growing Bachelor of Fine Arts program, and design students feel they lack the proper technology to do their work.

The Campus Planning Office conducted a Space Programming Study in 2015 to analyze different options for a new art building on campus, but according to A + D Interim Director Lis Charman, no specific building plans ever went through. Charman did not respond to a request for comment about the HECC request.

PSU President Rahmat Shoureshi said at a press conference in March the university would be holding a fundraiser for the College of the Arts, which encompasses the School of A + D, in June. Director of Media Relations Ken Ma said the concert benefit will not be for a proposed new building but to fund the chamber choir’s trip to Argentina.

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