Legislature Approves Capital Funding for SOU Projects

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(Ashland, Ore.) — The full Joint Ways and Means Committee of the Oregon Legislature has approved $3.5 million in bond funding for capital construction projects at Southern Oregon University. Votes of the House and Senate Chambers, and the Governor’s signature are expected to follow.

“These capital projects will provide jobs in southern Oregon,” said Senator Alan Bates, “in addition to improving the access and safety of SOU’s facilities for students, employees, and our community.”

The funding includes an additional $2 million in state XI-Q bonds for the McNeal Hall renovation project, which previously received approval for nearly $22 million in state funding. The additional monies that have been approved for the project will not expand the scope of the renovation, but were necessary in order to address the ongoing increase in the cost of construction since the project was first approved. Debt service on this funding will be paid by the state.

Additionally, the Legislature approved the sale of $1.5 million in XI-F bonds to help fund construction of a new facility for Jefferson Public Radio (JPR) on campus at SOU. “Building a new studio facility for JPR on the SOU campus as part of the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU will have real benefits for both JPR listeners and SOU students,” said Paul Westhelle, JPR’s executive director. “We look forward to expanding our newsroom, creating a live performance studio that will engage our listeners, and developing new, exciting opportunities to collaborate with the community and the campus.”

Still in the design phase, the JPR project is being constructed as an addition to the SOU Theatre Building, which will simultaneously be undergoing a major renovation and classroom space addition. Groundbreaking is expected to occur this summer, with completion scheduled for mid-2017.

“As we continue to grow and change in order to meet the needs of our students and community, it’s imperative that we have support from the state,” according to SOU President Roy Saigo. “Approval of this funding further illustrates that we have that support, particularly from our delegation representing Southern Oregon, which was instrumental in ensuring that this funding was made available.”

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About Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University is a medium-sized campus that provides comprehensive educational opportunities with a strong focus on student success and intellectual creativity. Located in vibrant Ashland, Oregon, SOU remains committed to diversity and inclusion for all students on its environmentally sustainable campus. Connected learning programs taught by a host of exceptional faculty provide quality, innovative experiences for students. Visit sou.edu.