November 11, 2002 11:00 pm

New building,

degree bode well

A new $33 million science center is taking shape. A new media arts degree program will be in place come January. Enrollment is up significantly. Eastern Oregon University is on a roll, which bodes well for La Grande and Union County.

NONE OF THE advances EOU has made in recent years is more noticeable than the new science center, under construction on the north side of University Boulevard.

The building recently got its roof and appears to be on schedule. The science center will be a tremendous addition for the university by providing expanded space and programs. The new building is a key element in EOU President Phil Creighton's goal of growing the university and expanding students' opportunities.

The other addition that should help draw more students to Eastern is the new media arts degree. Eastern will become one of a handful of schools in the West that will offer such a program. Students who seek a media arts degree will be able to concentrate in one of three areas: digital media, journalism or film studies. The new degree should be another drawing card for students.

ALREADY, THOUGH, EOU is getting noticed. Enrollment figures released last week by the Oregon University System show that Eastern has seen the second-largest increase in the state system at 15.9 percent. Only Oregon State University's Cascades Campus in Bend is seeing a higher growth rate, at 27.8 percent. The new figures put Eastern's enrollment at 3,452, up 474 from a year ago.

Eastern is a driving force in the local economy. For too long the college lived up to its own motto — "Oregon's best kept secret'' — and failed to seize its full potential, much like the community in which it is located. But times have changed and Eastern is expanding. That bodes well for the university, the students who attend it and for the community.


Should electric motors be allowed on watercraft at Morgan Lake?

LA GRANDE'S PARKS and Recreation Advisory Commission thought the idea had merit because it might allow more people, especially seniors and the disabled, greater access to the serene setting on the hills above La Grande. The city council disagreed and rejected petitioning the Oregon Marine Board to allow motors at the lake.

As testimony indicated, the lake provides the kind of setting that would be disrupted by motors. There are other places — though none as close — where people who want to use motors can go.

The city council was right. Morgan Lake needs to remain motorless.