CPD Tree Repurposing One of the striking features of the Oregon State University campus is the beautiful tree-lined streets and pathways and tree canopies across campus. The Oregon State University campus is home to about 5,000 trees, and each year another thirty-five new trees are planted. Supporting our valuable resource, OSU has a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, celebrates Arbor Day, and has various service learning projects aimed at engaging students. And, OSU has received the Tree Campus USA Award for five years in a row, which recognizes our efforts in effectively managing our campus trees, developing connectivity with the community beyond campus borders to foster healthy, urban forests, and engaging students in leaning opportunities centered on campus and community forestry events.

Building upon the OSU focus on stewardship in the care of our campus trees, Capital Planning and Development has stepped forward to integrate reclaimed wood into several of our new construction projects.  It’s always difficult when a large tree dies or needs to be removed, but several trees will live on in their service to Beaver Nation, as tables, chairs and decorations.

In August 2012, a 100-foot, 50-year-old red oak on the MU Quad fell. The wood from this oak has been milled and will become furniture for the new Student Experience Center (SEC).  As Larrie Easterly, Project Manager for the SEC construction explains, “Because this was a naturally-growing tree, the grain in the wood is very unique and has a lot of character, which will make spectacularly beautiful furniture.”

Repurposing and integrating our OSU trees into the built environment has expanded since 2012. At the site where Johnson Hall will be built, there are two large black walnut trees that are diseased and need to be removed. Once these trees are removed, the wood will be milled to be integrated into furniture and wood design elements of Johnson Hall.  Similarly, elm trees that were removed for the construction of the SEC will be used in the meditation room at the SEC. Black walnut trees that were removed for the construction of the Centro Cultural César Chávez will become furniture for Centro Cultural César Chávez, MU, and the Student Experience Center.

10641101_834935079880128_4252511279365855330_nAustin Hall opened September 2014 as the new home for OSU’s College of Business (COB), bringing 100,000 square feet that includes ten classrooms, a 250-seat auditorium, collaborative team rooms, research suites, over 70 faculty offices, staff and program offices, a café and event space.

Austin Hall will be connected by an open courtyard to the new Classroom Building, which will mean this area will have 5,000 – 6,000 students and faculty moving through this area during class changes. Built upon the realization that COB holds a unique place at OSU as the connection of other disciplines with the marketplace, Austin Hall includes large gathering and interactive learning spaces, all of which were designed to support universal accessibility and inclusivity.

All four entry doors have electric assist actuators. Two centrally-located elevators connect the four floors of the building.  Classrooms and auditoriums with multiple levels have sloped walkways to allow wheelchair access. The typical 48-seat classroom in the building has wheelchair access to 2 of the three seating levels.  The 30-seat seminar room supports access to all levels.  The 250-seat auditorium provides access to the front and to the rear entrance area of the room.  Additionally, there is more than one location for wheelchair seating areas. Because it can be difficult to adjust door pulls to accommodate a variety of height considerations, airport-style restrooms eliminated the need for doors on the entrances. In office spaces and all classrooms, height-adjustable furniture is incorporated.

Landscape architecture includes subtle integration of accessibility features.  Building entry paths are gently sloped beyond ADA minimum standards to provide an elegant and seamless grade change, so that everyone, including those with mobility assistance needs, are able to approach the building in the same manner.  Seat walls and benches allow all wheelchair and non-wheelchair users to sit together, rather than sitting separately in dedicated spaces.

Cutting edge technology for the hard of hearing has also been included.  In addition to the standard infrared assistive listening device capability, which requires the use of hand-held equipment, Austin hall is equipped with an audio induction loop system that creates a magnetic field in the room to transmit sound directly to hearing aids and cochlear implants, for hands-free accessibility. The audio induction loop system provides a more discreet listening experience, while also decreasing background noise, competing sounds, reverberation and other acoustic distortions that reduce the clarity of sound.

The open nature of the building and the floor-to-ceiling white board walls creates an open, interactive learning experience. To accommodate different learning styles and study needs, building design includes learning environments, which encouraged students to continue their learning and discussions outside the classroom.