WORK STARTS ON NEW SCIENCE CENTER

April 02, 2002 11:00 pm
Chris Garrison of Oregon Excavation Inc. uses an excavator to clear shrubs and trees Monday at the new science building site at Eastern Oregon University. (The Observer/Phil Bullock).
Chris Garrison of Oregon Excavation Inc. uses an excavator to clear shrubs and trees Monday at the new science building site at Eastern Oregon University. (The Observer/Phil Bullock).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

The wait is over.

Site preparation work for Eastern Oregon Universitys new $33.5 million science center started Monday.

Trees, stumps, concrete and an 84-space asphalt parking lot are being removed. A fence was constructed, restricting access to the public at the site west of the Badgley Hall science building.

Crews are scheduled to start digging the foundation within a week.

A ground-breaking ceremony was conducted in August. Actual work was delayed because of a lawsuit against the Oregon Lottery. The lawsuit threatened the $9 million in state lottery-backed bonds EOU has obtained for the science center.

The Oregon Legislature cleared up the problem earlier this year when it agreed to have the state back all lottery bonds regardless of the lawsuit.

Excavation work will be done with permission from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The tribes permission was needed because the science center site is on land ceded by Native Americans to the U.S. Government by the Walla Walla Treaty of 1855.

A survey of the science center site for human remains had to be conducted before excavation work could begin. No human remains were found. If remains are discovered during excavation, all work will have to stop under the rules of the tribes Cultural Resources Protection Program.

The first phase of the building project will involve the construction of a 67,000-square-foot addition to Badgley Hall. The center will have classrooms, labs, a 7,500-square-foot biotech lab and a 5,000-square-foot greenhouse.

The second and final phase will involve the renovation of Badgley. All of the space in the building will be converted into classrooms and offices. There will be no labs in the building after it is remodeled.

The renovation of Badgley will start about a month after the new addition is completed. This will provide time for equipment to be moved from Badgley into the new building.

Lydig Construction of Spokane, Wash., is the general contractor for the science center.

There is one trailer at the construction site but four others will be added soon.

Partners with Eastern in the building project include the Oregon Health & Science Universitys nursing program, Oregon State Universitys agriculture program, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlifes fish pathology lab and Portland State Universitys engineering program.