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COCC moving ahead on $22M dormitory

Construction scheduled to begin April 14

By Tyler Leeds / The Bulletin

Published Jan 23, 2014 at 12:01AM

The Central Oregon Community College board of directors voted Wednesday to move ahead with the construction of a new $22 million residence hall funded by the sale of bonds.

COCC used a construction manager-general contractor method to oversee the project, which allowed the school to approve a guaranteed maximum price the manager and contractor, Lease Crutcher Lewis, was able to charge. In October, the board voted to spend $130,000 to fund a portion of the required drafting documents, which allowed Lease Crutcher Lewis to offer a maximum price that incorporated less risk than one based on preliminary documents available at the time. Wednesday, the board voted to accept the contractor’s price for construction of the building itself, which was just below the board’s goal for $16 million.

“I’m delighted to say we made it to the price we had wanted,” said COCC President Jim Middleton. “We established a budget and made sure we got there.”

The residence hall, which the university hopes to have open in autumn 2015, will be located about 500 feet east of Mt. Washington Drive, just to the west of the college’s soccer field. The building will be composed of three wings that step down Awbrey Butte, varying in height from five to three stories. The college plans for revenue from student rent to cover the cost of the full faith and credit bonds and the dorm’s operation.

“The dorm will offer an attractive option to students in-district who want to get out of their houses, something their parents probably want too,” Middleton said. “It will also help us to attract out-of-district students, which is critical to our finances, and will even allow us to attract international students, should we ever decide to do that. Frankly, I think we should.”

“The dorm, in addition to the student center, gym and library, really completes the student experience here at the college,” said board member Charley Miller. “I really think it will be transformational for COCC.”

The residence hall will contain 330 beds, including a resident director apartment and 10 resident assistant rooms. Most students will be housed in one of 70 “quad double” suites, which contain two bedrooms with two beds each, a private bathroom and a small common area. There will also be 10 quad singles, where each student has a private room in addition to the shared space. Construction is set to begin on April 14 and to be completed by early April 2015.

To save costs, principal architect Kurt Haapala, of the Portland and Seattle-based firm Mahlum, said some of the common spaces were “shaved” down from their initial size, but that the reductions “will not affect the student experience.” Another cost-saving measure was the relocation of some building systems from an underground to aboveground location.

The dorm will initially be accessible only off Mt. Washington Drive, though the city of Bend has mandated additional access off College Way by 2018. The university is waiting to complete a comprehensive traffic study before locating the second access road.

— Reporter: 541-633-2160,