White Stag Block helps revitalize Old Town, expands offering for students and community
EUGENE, Ore. — (March 25, 2008) — The University of Oregon in Portland has nearly completed its move into an Old Town Chinatown facility that matches the world-class quality of the university’s Portland programs.
The beautifully refurbished, historic White Stag Block will host its first classes and community events this spring with all the programs planning to move into the new space by fall 2008.
The 103,000 square-foot, green facility merges parts of the White Stag/Hirsch-Weiss, the Skidmore Block
and the Bickel Block buildings into the White Stag Block, a single complex at the west end of the Burnside
Bridge. This marks a 57,000 square-foot increase from the university’s current space in the Willamette
Building in Southwest Portland.
The UO’s White Stag Block gives the state’s students and professionals more hands-on opportunities in subjects such as journalism, architecture, digital arts, product design and law. A master’s degree in strategic communication was recently added to the journalism program, the School of Law is offering a Semester in Portland program with corporate law externships and green business courses, and the School of Architecture and Allied Arts will more than double its capacity and launch a bachelor of fine arts degree in product design and relocate its bachelor in fine arts degree in digital arts to Portland. In addition, continuing education courses in a variety of areas including sustainability
leadership, applied information management, and festival and event management will have more room to accommodate attendees.
The facility will feature state-of-the-art classrooms, labs and studios, space for exhibits, lectures and both private and public events up to 200 people. A nê~ library and learning commons area, state-of-the-art collaborative computing environments and a new university book store and Duck Shop with a café will also be featured. In addition, the new facility will house administrative offices for as many as 100 employees.
The historic facility boasts the latest in sustainable technologies and green building design. In an effort to restore the buildings’ turn-of-the-century appearances, crews replaced windows that had been bricked over for decades with environmentally friendly energy-efficient models. Less visible is a brand-new 10,000-gallon storm water retention tank designed to control the facility’s runoff. On the inside, feats of engineering mastery make the most of natural light, replacing load-bearing walls with steel beams. Where shadows once abounded, light filters through open stairways, giving the interior a fresh, clean look in an energy-efficient manner.
Not only is the UO working toward LEED certification, it is pursuing LEED Gold certification — one of the toughest recognitions granted by the U.S. Green Building Council. To meet the council’s stringent certification guidelines, officials are emphasizing five key areas in the renovation: sustainable site development; water savings; energy efficiency; materials selection; and indoor environmental quality.
“The University of Oregon has a rich history in Portland going back more than 120 years,” said Dave Frohnmayer, University of Oregon president. “This move to a central location in a significant, historic block will enable us to continue the tradition and advance our academic offerings with hand-on experience in Portland, the commerce capital of the state.”
The university isn’t the only one benefiting from the move — the Old Town Chinatown neighborhood is, as well. The UO’s expansion set in motion a veritable domino effect of revitalization. After the UO committed to the neighborhood, Mercy Corps announced the move of its headquarters into the Skidmore Fountain Building, across the street. In addition, the Bill Naito Corporation is planning to partner with Beam Development in new construction and historical renovations that would redevelop up to 500,000 square feet along Northwest Second Avenue.
Also, moving into the Globe Hotel on NW First Avenue and NW Davis Street is the Oregon College of
Oriental Medicine, which will house a graduate school and intern clinic that will bring 275 students and
105 jobs to the building and around 1,750 patient visits each month.
“The university is thrilled to have such a high caliber of neighbors, from the Classical Chinese Garden to Mercy Corps,” said Tern Warpinski, UO vice provost of academic affairs and community engagement. “From our graduate programs, to continuing education, to the art gallery and spaces open to the public for lectures, exhibits and events, we embrace our new home in Portland.”
About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon’s flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of 62 of the leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. Membership in the AAU is by invitation only. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.