Rick Freeman, Construction Manager for Project Delivery

by Abbie Leland

Structured and inclusive decision-making leaves plenty of room for creativity and collaboration when it comes to construction projects at OSU. It can also help ensure that projects generate effective results. This principle, included in the Division of Finance and Administration’s Framework for Success initiative, is showcased by the Project Delivery team, part of University Facilities, Infrastructure and Operations.

Construction Manager Rick Freeman, part of the Project Delivery team, says it’s not easy to describe his job in a nutshell because of the many steps and processes involved in projects of all sizes, costing from $50,000 to $100 million.

Construction managers team up with a project manager on larger construction and renovation projects and collaboratively manage a project from design development through to the completed construction of a facility. For smaller projects, the construction manager takes on both roles.

“CMs are the day-to-day point of contact during the construction phase,” Freeman said.

Collaboration is an everyday element of construction management work. The entire Project Delivery team works with external design and construction groups, manages project budgets and works with the City of Corvallis for permitting and code guidelines.

Freeman has memories of each and every project in his 12 years of working at OSU.

“Whether I am driving through the intersection of 26th and Western Boulevard, seeing the OSU gateway sign or watching OSU Softball and seeing the new turf under the new lights, walking by the Memorial Union under the glass canopy and through the Student Experience Center or down Jefferson to Furman Hall, all my projects, small or large, have memories,” he said.

Freeman’s time at OSU extends beyond his work. Born and raised in Corvallis, he spent much of his childhood attending sporting events, riding his bike through the Corvallis campus or playing video games and bowling at the MU.

“So the fact that I get to work at a place where I spent a lot of time as a child is very special,” he said. “I enjoy that, as a construction manager, I get to be involved in projects that improve campus by remodeling buildings or adding new ones.”

He added that he works with a dedicated team at UFIO that’s passionate about bettering the university and creating an amazing experience for students, employees and visitors.

Eric Smith is one of OSU's space analysts.
People across campus recognize Space Analyst Eric Smith as a familiar face when it comes to space. Smith is a member of the Space Management team with University Facilities, Infrastructure and Operations. 

By Abbie Leland

Thousands of students, employees, visitors and community members share space on Oregon State University’s Corvallis campus each day. Looking at the numbers, the core Corvallis campus adds up to 570 acres and 5.7 million gross square footage of space.

Have you ever wondered how all of the pieces of this large space puzzle fit together? The Space Management team with University Facilities, Infrastructure and Operations helps answer that question. People across campus recognize space analyst Eric Smith as a familiar face when it comes to space. He helps compile information for the annual OSU Space Survey. During his seven years with the university, Smith has learned a lot about OSU’s floor plans, square footage and just how much goes into moving to new spaces or from place to place.

“I enjoy getting out on campus and meeting people. I’ve learned a lot of random things, seeing all the different architecture, all the different research [that goes on at the university],” Smith said. “If you visit a space and it is being used for research, those people in the space are going to talk to you about the research they are doing.”

The tasks managed by the Space Management team align with one of the principles included in the Division of Finance and Administration’s Framework for Success project: Active stewardship of resources.

The team provides effective stewardship of OSU’s space, by managing space requests, facilitating the annual space survey, supporting campus moves coordination and providing space allocation and utilization reports.

“This is what I do when I go out and look at spaces and talk to people for the space survey. We’re here to serve the university. We don’t want to underutilize our space,” Smith said.

Energy Center
The OSU Energy Center is a cogeneration facility that combines heating and electricity generation. It takes a dedicated seven-member crew to operate the facility year-round, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

By Abbie Leland 

The OSU Energy Center, located at the corner of SW 35th Street and SW Jefferson Way, serves an important role on the Corvallis campus as a cogeneration energy facility that combines heating and electricity generation. The facility uses a natural gas-fired turbine and heat recovery steam generator to produce electricity, a more sustainable method of generating electricity. OSU is able to generate nearly half of its electrical needs on-site and produces almost all of the steam used on the Corvallis campus.

The facility became fully operational in June 2010, when it replaced the original 95-year-old heat plant on campus. The Energy Center was the first power facility in the nation to receive Platinum LEED Certification. Several efficient features of the facility include radiant heating and hot water generated by heat recovery from the steam system.

Supervisor of Energy Operations Les Walton has worked at the original heat plant and the newer facility throughout the years, as part of OSU’s Facilities Services.

“I’ve been here about 26 years now,” he said. “I have fun and the crew is fantastic.”

Walton took a job with OSU after serving as a boiler repairman with the U.S. Navy.

“I worked at the heat plant then moved over here [to the Energy Center],” he said.

During a recent afternoon tour of the Energy Center, Walton stopped and pointed to a large, shiny piece of machinery on the floor of the facility. He explained that the bright blue Davey brand air compressor serves as a backup air compressor for the Energy Center. It was moved to the facility from the original heat plant.

“That’s one of the first things I worked on when I started here 26 years ago on the graveyard shift,” he said.

The Energy Center has a dedicated seven-member crew that operates the plant year-round, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Walton could spend hours explaining the ins and outs of OSU’s campus Energy Operations.

One of the original goals for the Energy Center was that it could act as a learning lab for OSU students. Walton has led tours of the cogeneration facility for thousands of OSU faculty and staff members, students studying in the areas of engineering, sustainability and renewable energy, and a variety of engineering groups and companies outside of the university.

“The students sometimes get really engaged during tours, and that’s the cool part – when they are interested and ask questions,” Walton said.

This innovative structure made from mass plywoods panels (MPP) by Freres Lumber Co., located in Lyons, Oregon, was on display at the A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory

by Abbie Leland

Oregon State University was recently one of 10 colleges and universities across the United States to receive a grant through the Mass Timber University Grant Program.

Grants awarded through the Mass Timber University Grant Program to all 10 institutions totaled $1 million. This cooperative partnership with the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities supports the construction of mass timber buildings on college campuses across the country, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

OSU receives $100,000 in funds with the grant award, which will be used to explore the structural possibilities that mass timber could play in the design of OSU’s new arts and education complex on the university’s Corvallis campus. OSU announced in July 2019 that the new arts and education complex will be built at the corner of Southwest 15th Street and Washington Way.

Mass timber includes a variety of wood products made up of smaller pieces of wood that are laminated and compressed to create large, solid panels of wood that can serve as structural components in buildings, according to the Forest Service.

Additionally, placing these buildings at institutions of higher learning, such as OSU, can help educate more people about the benefits of mass timber. The Forest Service highlights that a thriving mass timber market helps maintain forest health and resiliency, supports employment opportunities in rural communities and advances sustainability of the built environment.

And this isn’t the first time mass timber is being explored at OSU. OSU has been a pioneer in adopting mass timber, with the recent completion of the A.A. Red Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Lab and the George W. Peavy Forest Science Center, which will be completed in Spring 2020 as part of the Oregon Forest Science Complex for the College of Forestry. The Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Lab is also home to the TallWood Design Institute, whose applied research and education mission is to promote greater use of wood in non-residential and multi-family construction. The TallWood Design Institute helped with the grant submission process for the Mass Timber University Grant Program and serves as a key member of the grant-winning team for the arts and education complex project.

While concrete and steel are more traditional and commonly-used building materials, mass timber offers up something new and innovative for OSU to explore.

Oregon State’s research addresses issues that improve lives, protect natural resources and drive economic growth. While cutting-edge research takes place in buildings like the Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, Cordley Hall or Hallie E. Ford Center, research into topics such as pollinator health can take place in campus’s landscapes—right before our eyes.

The Corvallis campus is a living laboratory. Tucked away in small corners on the west side of campus are a number of small projects. Student projects, faculty projects and more—all supported by the Landscape Shop, which is part of Facilities Services.

One of these projects was started by Isabella Messer, an undergraduate studying Horticulture in the College of Agriculture Sciences. She recently began her first research project detailing bee visits to pollinator-attractive plants in OSU landscapes. She’s counting in five-minute increments how many visits pollinators make to plants such as showy milkweed, columbine, oregano and pearly everlasting, which are scattered around landscapes around the greenhouse gardens west of the Agricultural and Life Sciences Building. Messer wanted to count visits to plants that weren’t represented in the landscapes, so she and Horticulture professor Gail Langellotto approached Todd Cross, Trades Maintenance Coordinator for the Landscape Shop, about the possibility of adding to the Corvallis campus landscapes.

Cross had recently connected with Langellotto at the PNW Pollinator Summit, hosted by Oregon State in February 2019, and was eager to help. “The real value in a project like this for us in the Landscape Shop is what we learn,” explained Cross. “Landscape is a constantly evolving trade and if we are doing our jobs well we should always be open to new techniques, new products, new plants and new ways of thinking. Pollinators are a hot topic right now and for good reason.”

Along with Bill Coslow, supervisor of the Landscape Shop, the group met to plan a planting timeline, define responsibilities and figure out irrigation issues. Messer planted the specimens around the greenhouses and has been counting pollinator visits since this spring.

“Isabella can literally walk out the door of ALS  and start doing ecological science,” explained Langellotto, who is supervising this research project. “I have fewer concerns about her safety, compared to if she had to visit multiple private properties. The Landscape Shop has been fantastic, in terms of inviting us in to do science, and keeping open lines of communication to make sure that we can meet our goals without compromising theirs (and vice versa).”

New Advanced wood products lab

High bay featuring three-story structural wall for testing wood products in the new A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory

Rising up on the west side of the Corvallis campus, the A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory brings a high tech look to the area of barns and fields associated with the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine. When completed, the lab (also known as the AWP) will house research devoted to finding new ways to use timber products in structures—both residential and commercial—and new ways of building and engineering using wood.

The black metal building contains a high bay area— capable of holding a three-story structure. The high bay area will have plenty of space for large, long panels and beams. The floor is reinforced to hold heavy structures. The AWP will be a resource for undergraduate and graduate students learning about mass timber research, manufacturing, design and engineering and will enhance the undergrad research experience for College of Forestry students.
The A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory is made possible by a donation of $6 million by A.A. “Red” Emmerson, found of Sierra Pacific Industries, the second largest lumber company in the United States. The AWP is slated to be up and running by mid-summer 2019.
Washington Way facing westThe Washington Way (WW) corridor through the heart of campus is complex. Running along a narrow corridor is a road, a shared use path (for pedestrians and bicyclists), and an active freight railroad line. The actual road, SW Washington Way, is narrow and contains no on-street bike lanes.

A multi-year project has started to address many of the issues surrounding the Washington Way corridor–from SW 35th Street to the west all the way to SW Benton Place to the east. OSU, coordinating with the city of Corvallis and the Union Pacific Railroad, is working right now to design new facilities along SW Washington Way, consisting of a new bike and pedestrian facilities and a better-landscaped corridor. Safe and attractive drop off areas will be added for cars and buses. The project is in the design phase and plans to be finished in 2022.

“This summer we’ll have a better idea of how this project will look,” explained Aaron Collett, project manager for the WW corridor. “You may see utility investigation and survey crews out, getting a better handle on what will all need to be managed during the project, but construction won’t begin until 2020.”

Updates to the project, including impacts to campus operations, will be shared with the campus community and be available on the Washington Way Reconstruction project page.

Cordley HallWith high-profile new construction happening on campus, sometimes it’s easy to overlook many of the renovations, upgrades and other improvements happening on the Corvallis campus. One certain project, however, won’t be so easy to overlook, as it will span five years, require two phases and affect between 400 and 500 faculty, staff and students in the Colleges of Science and Agricultural Sciences. The Cordley Hall renewal project, which began this summer and is expected to wrap up in 2024,  will reverberate across campus, but when it is complete Cordley Hall will be the centerpiece of life sciences research and learning on campus.

Cordley Hall was built in two phases, starting in 1956 and completed in 1965. It was a typical academic and lab building for its time. Science, research and teaching have all changed and Cordley Hall is no longer meeting the needs of the students and researchers using the building. In addition, many of the mechanical systems are out-of-date or on the edge of failing. In 2017 the Infrastructure Working Group, a group established in 2016 that recommends and rates infrastructure projects to the Board of Trustees and university leadership, named Cordley Hall its top priority. Cordley Hall suffers from years of deferred maintenance and budget cuts. Recent increases to the deferred maintenance and capital renewal budgets from both the university’s E&G funds and state bond funding are allowing the university to renovate Cordley Hall from a dark, outdated building to a 235,000 square feet of modern research and teaching space for the life sciences.

The first step to the multi-year project was to find an overflow space to hold the researchers and their labs while the renovations take place. In June 2018, OSU purchased an existing research building 4575 SW Research Way to serve as a new STEM building. But before that happens, the building will be remodeled to act as temporary surge space for those researchers displaced by the Cordley Hall renovations. The renovations at Cordley Hall will be a two-part process. One half of the building will move out to 4575 SW Research Way and, while empty, be completely renovated. After that, the first half will move back in and the second half of the building will move out.

The renewal project has already begun; in the summer of 2017, Cordley Hall’s roof was replaced. It’s a good start to the project; after all, the project was completed on time and under budget. The last time the roof was replaced, explains John Gremmels, the university’s capital planner, was about 25 or 30 years ago, when construction standards and energy codes were a lot different. In addition to the new roof, eight inches of insulation was added to help save energy by keeping warm air in or out, depending on the season.

“When we renovate, we’re always looking for ways to passively save energy. Passive systems rarely break.” Gremmels explained.

The next goal is to make improvements to life safety systems, such as fire alarms and sprinklers, and upgrading the HVAC system. Also in the renovation plan will be upgrades to the electrical and plumbing systems of the building, replacing exterior windows and improving the accessibility of Cordley Hall’s restrooms and hallways. Along with the renovation comes a renewal of Cordley Hall’s labs, classrooms, collection spaces and collaboration spaces.

“The renewal of Cordley Hall will be adding value to our campus and our science programs by creating a state-of-the-art facility where there was none, saving the university money by using existing infrastructure — and we’ll no longer spending money be managing its decline, “said Gremmels.

Einerson House - CMLCThe 1920s Tudor Revival house on the corner of NW Jackson Street and Arnold Way may be small, but will host many cultural events in the coming months. The former Asian & Pacific Cultural Center, now named the Einerson House, was renovated this summer to house the Corvallis Multicultural Literacy Center (CMLC), a learning center dedicated to community building, education, mentoring and more.

Oregon State University has been an enthusiastic collaborator with CMLC for the past 11 years. In addition to serving the Corvallis community, CMLC’s services, programming and collaborative space are also available to OSU students, faculty and staff.  While their old 9th Street house has a special place in CMLC’s heart, the move to the Einerson House space will allow CMLC to serve its community better.

For one, the Einerson House is more easily accessed by public transportation and is closer to the Corvallis campus, making it more accessible to the community. In addition, the main entrance to the house has been moved to the rear of the house, where an accessible ramp is available, and the restroom has also been made accessible. 

Sami Al-Abdrabbuh, the CLMC board president, notes that the Einerson House’s accessibility improvements serve a longer-term goal of inclusiveness for all. In addition, he notes that CMLC will be able to qualify for grants and more funding to expand their programs now that their facility has improved accessibility. 

“We’ve done a lot to tailor the renovation to the CLMC’s needs,” explained Dustin Sievers, the project manager for the Einerson House. “We took the open space to more private spaces for people to gather, we expanded the kitchen to accommodate cooking classes and we turned the existing garage into a classroom.”

The Einerson House (pronounced Eee-ner-son) was occupied from 1937 until 1967 by Joseph Nicoli Einerson and Marie Mathilda Einerson, who owned a wholesale candy and tobacco store in Corvallis called Einerson’s. Anticipating the Corvallis campus’s eventual growth, Oregon State University purchased the Tudor Revival bungalow at 2638 NW Jackson Street in 1976. In 1990 Oregon State University’s Asian Cultural Center (later, the Asian & Pacific Cultural Center) was established there.

CMLC moved into the renovated space in early July, and the CMLC will hold a grand reopening celebration on Saturday, October 13th from 1:00 – 3:00 pm. 

Dolls at the CMLC

clock at Meier and Frank


“Meet me under the clock!” has a new meaning.

The Meier and Frank building in Portland was once home to the Meier and Frank department store, and later Macy’s, where shoppers often planned to meet up under the Art Deco-style clock that now graces the building’s lobby. But as of September 20th, Portland will be meeting under the clock for a new reason – to meet before or after class.

Ten classes, from Marketing to Infant & Child Development, will be taught at OSU in Portland starting in the fall term of 2018. OSU has leased 40,000 square feet on the second floor of the historic building; 35,000 sq feet of it will be cutting edge classrooms, conference rooms, offices and several informal study and meeting spaces.

One of the most striking aspects of the renovation was also one of the most head-scratching. “Macy’s put up walls in front of the striking floor-to-ceiling windows,” explained Libby Ramirez, OSU’s University Architect and project manager of this renovation. “They wanted customers to focus on the products rather than the view outside. Renovation plans called for tearing down these walls, exposing views to Pioneer Courthouse Square, the Pioneer Courthouse, and other bustling views of downtown Portland.”

The view out of the unblocked windows is phenomenal — and completely uncluttered. Building regulations stipulate that nothing be placed in the windows. However, along with the great view looking out, pedestrians and other city wanderers can also look in (OSU’s space is on the second floor, after all). To provide the space a little outward-facing OSU promotion, a large teaching wall was installed in a classroom facing Pioneer Courthouse Square. When not in use, this teaching wall will promote OSU to passersby from across the street.

Many classes and degrees will be offered from OSU in PDX; more each term. In addition, OSU Foundation and the OSU Alumni Association will be moving their Portland offices into the Meier & Frank space later this fall. It’s quite a start for OSU’s touchdown in the big city.

OSU in Portland
One of the informal meeting spaces at OSU in Portland