Sponsored by Oregon Business

Staying alive

| Print |  Email
Articles - Nov/Dec 2012
Monday, November 05, 2012

Education, medical

1112 StayingAlive 04
Edna Holmes Hall at Lewis & Clark in Portland is one of many examples of Oregon colleges building more housing to accommodate a growing student population.
// Photo courtesy Lewis & Clark College/Robert Reynolds

Talk to almost any major construction firm in Oregon these days, and just about all of them have a recent student housing project in their portfolio. Hoffman? University of Oregon’s $71.5 million East Campus residence hall. Walsh Construction? Portland State University’s $90 million University Pointe at College Station and Lewis & Clark College’s $8.4 million Edna Holmes Hall. Adroit Construction of Ashland? Southern Oregon University’s $40 million Cascade dormitory. The list goes on.

“Student housing, whether it’s owned institutionally or privately, is certainly a strong sector and has maintained strength through the downturn,” says Saito of Gerding Edlen, which managed a recent $20 million housing project for Lane Community College.

Part of the reason is simple supply and demand. Additionally, some institutions, short on capital, have turned to a partnership approach with private developers. At PSU, for example, the school leased the land for University Pointe to Texas developer American Campus Communities, which then built and owns the building.

Other education projects, from the $6 million seismic retrofit of SOU’s Churchill Hall by Ausland Group to a $10 million renovation of the University of Portland’s library by Todd Construction of Tigard, have kept builders busy as well. Similarly, local bond measures have led to K-12 building projects for some firms, including Todd, which will build Portland’s $37 million Parkrose Middle School in the coming year. And Oregon State University’s plans to expand its Cascades campus in Bend into a four-year university by 2015 likely will require some new construction or renovation just down the road.

Yet the bright education spot may be dimming. For starters, the Legislature only approved $265 million in capital construction funds for the 2011-13 biennium, down from $758 million in 2009-11. Along the same lines, earlier bond measures for schools, fire stations and other public projects are winding down.

“I think we’re seeing the tail end of what was passed when the economy was still pretty good,” says Ausland. “We may be cycling out of those institutional projects.”

Like education projects, health care construction has been strong over the past few years. Smaller clinics as well as large hospitals — such as the $9.3 million Curry Medical Center in Brookings and Kaiser Permanente’s under-construction, $344 million Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro —have kept crews working steadily. The state, too, is building two new hospitals to the tune of $458 million to replace the existing Oregon State Hospital.

But all this could be tapering off.

“There may be more of that that’s in the rearview mirror,” says Eberwein. “Most of the big guys did a lot of the big projects, and now they’re catching their breath. Generally speaking, even though it never really goes away, health care is taking a breath.”

Part of that has to do with the slower economy, but part may also be the uncertainty related to health care reform.

“In health care,” says Brent Schafer, president of Todd Construction, which built the hospital in Brookings, “it seems like people are being kind of cautious about the election and health care reform, and waiting to see how all that is going to shake out.”


More Articles

Down on the Bayou

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

A Power Lunch at Zydeco Kitchen and Cocktails in Bend.


Photos: 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon awards dinner

The Latest
Thursday, October 01, 2015
100best202thumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Images from the big 2015 celebration of worker-friendly organizations that make a difference.


Money Troubles

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

The state’s angel investing fund gets hammered in Salem.


More Than Meets the Eye

Guest Blog
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Janet Yellen official Federal Reserve portrait-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | CFA

On September 17, the much anticipated Fed decision was delivered and the equity markets haven't liked it.


Counterpoint: CLT not as green as people think

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
photo-flickr-glasseyes viewthymbBY GREGG LEWIS | OP-ED

The issue of green-washing remains a significant challenge to those of us who would like to see the building sector in this country do more than make unverifiable claims of sustainability. Transparency about the impacts of a given material is the only way to allow designers to make intelligent choices when selecting building products.


Storyteller in Chief: Power Player

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

In 1996, after a 17-year career in the destination marketing industry, where I gained national standing as the CEO of the Convention & Visitors Association of Lane County, I was recruited by the founders of a new professional basketball league for women. The American Basketball League (ABL) hoped to leverage the success of the 1996 USA women’s national team at the Atlanta Olympics — much like USA Soccer is now leveraging the U.S. Women’s National Team’s victory in the World Cup. The ABL wanted a team in Portland, and they wanted me to be its general manager.


The Cover Story

The Latest
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
100515-cover1015-news-thumbBY CHRIS NOBLE

As we worked on the October cover, it became evident that Nick Symmonds is a hard man to catch — even when he’s not hotfooting it around a track.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02