OSU plans new $30M dorm on campus parking lot

OSU plans new $30M dorm on campus parking lot

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State University hopes to reduce its impact on surrounding neighborhoods by building more on-campus housing, including a new residence hall in a $30 million project that will require city approval.

Neighbors are divided on whether the project on a lot that now has 214 parking spaces will help things in areas near campus, where an initiative called Collaboration Corvallis is aimed at issues that come with large numbers of off-campus students and students who park in neighborhoods and walk to campus.

OSU President Ed Ray said last year the university wanted to house more students on campus, the Corvallis Gazette-Times reported.

School officials say about 80 percent of freshmen in the fall lived on campus. They say the new hall and a separate expansion would get the figure to 90 percent, including expected growth in the student population.

City approval is needed because the proposal would change the campus master plan. The city's staff has recommended approval with conditions dealing with traffic and a new intersection.

The project on the east side of the campus is drawing attention because it would result in a loss of parking spaces on campus at the same time the collaboration project called for expanded parking districts in town.

"It is a trade-off, losing parking versus getting more student housing on campus," said Betty Griffiths, a former Corvallis City Council member who is a member of the collaboration project's neighborhood planning group. "My vote (is for) getting more housing on campus."

A dissent came from Tom Jensen, who lives north of campus and who has criticized Oregon State's approach to the parking problems.

"I could tie the new dorm to a handful of other maneuvers made by OSU deemed contributions to addressing the current problems that actually exacerbate the problem," said Jensen.

The university has enough parking spaces that now are underused to make up for the lost spots, said David Dodson, campus planning manager.

The city report said the addition of housing on campus outweighed the impact of losing the spots.