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.

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