November 09, 2001 11:00 pm
EOU MASTER PLAN: George "Bing" Sheldon, left, of SERA Architects, reviews a plan for Eastern Oregon University's future with Tim Seydel, EOU's assistant vice president for university advancement. (The Observer/DICK MASON).
EOU MASTER PLAN: George "Bing" Sheldon, left, of SERA Architects, reviews a plan for Eastern Oregon University's future with Tim Seydel, EOU's assistant vice president for university advancement. (The Observer/DICK MASON).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

Eastern Oregon University has one of the most open and inviting campuses in the state.

Good planning and an historic accident are two of the reasons, said George Bing Sheldon, a Portland architect.

Sheldon explained that EOU has never had the funding needed to construct a mass of buildings at one time. This has allowed EOU to maintain a warm, open atmosphere on campus and prevented mistakes that can occur when a rash of unplanned building takes place.

A historic accident has allowed this to survive, Sheldon said.

Sheldon is working to keep this atmosphere in place. He is the chairman of SERA Architects, a Portland firm that has created a master plan to allow EOU to accommodate its potential future growth.

SERA was asked to make its plans on the assumption that EOU will have 3,000 full-time students in 2010 and 4,250 in 2020. EOU now has just under 2,000 full-time equivalent students.

Thursday at EOU, Sheldon and Tom Bennett, also of SERA Architects, presented a master plan developed by their firm. The blueprint was adopted earlier by EOUs planning committee.

Sheldon said the plans call for the expansion of EOUs campus while maintaining a friendly, student-

centered atmosphere.

Under the plan, EOUs buildings would be confined to a circular area in which any point on campus could be reached in five minutes or less while walking 2.5 miles per hour. The student health center on

L Street is on the north edge of this circle, and the track and football field sites are on the south edge.

Under the SERA plan, new buildings would be added as Easterns student enrollment grows. Sheldon said that about 350 square feet of building space would be added per new student.

Bennett said that the plan stipulates that no new buildings of more than three stories will be added. This would prevent any new buildings from dwarfing those now on campus.

Between eight and 12 of the new buildings could be dormitories. The dormitories would be placed on the east side of campus near Alikut Hall, a residence hall that opened about four years ago. Plans call for a student food service center to be in one of the dormitories.

The construction of the dormitories is based on the assumption that 30 percent of Easterns students will live on campus. The dormitories would be built only if there is an increased demand for on-campus housing at Eastern.

Sheldon said that Dorion Hall, a dormitory on the west side of campus, should eventually be torn down and replaced by an academic building. Dorion would not be taken down, though, until space is available in other new dormitories to make up for its loss.

There are problems with Dorion Hall, built in the early 1950s and early 60s, Sheldon said. Its design makes it hard to heat efficiently and causes the building to get uncomfortably hot in the spring and summer.

The SERA plans also call for significant changes in the amphitheater between Hoke Center and Quinn Coliseum. Its not inviting because of the berm surrounding it, Sheldon said. His observation was that most people sit on the edge and dont venture toward the


The suggestion is to flatten the amphitheater into a grass field. To complement it, an outdoor terrace cafe would be added to the south of the Hoke Center.

The amphitheater now helps with flood control. EOU and the City of La Grande would have to work out an alternative flood control arrangement before the amphitheater was changed, involving diverting the creek which flows under it.

The master plan also addresses Easterns athletic facilities. A field house would be constructed where EOUs tennis dome now is to provide an indoor practice site for football and track.

The plan developed by SERA also addresses the need for extensive renovation of Inlow Hall and its north staircase, which were built in 1929. Inlow today serves as Easterns administration building. Sheldon said that it may be difficult to get money for such work since the state is often reluctant to pay

for renovation of administration buildings.

His suggestion is that community service organizations help with the project. A club, for example, might adopt the staircase and raise money for its preservation.