Contact: Di Saunders, OUS communications director: 971-219-6869; diane_saunders@ous.edu

PORTLAND, March 10, 2014 – Late last week the Oregon Legislature approved $29.3 million in capital requests for the Oregon University System. The projects, on five of the OUS campuses, are considered urgent, and primarily related to life safety issues or to one-time opportunities that address student access, critical deferred maintenance, and emergent opportunities.

Dr. Melody Rose, OUS interim chancellor said, “We’re grateful to the Legislature for advancing these important facilities projects. Our first concern is for the safety and access of our students and our campus communities across the state. The bulk of these funds address critical needs that can’t wait until next year’s legislative session but need resolution now, so we appreciate that recognition by our state leaders.”

Outcomes for the OUS from the 2014 Legislative Session include approval the following budget measures:

 

  1. CAPITAL BUDGET ACTIONS:

Senate Bill 5702 and Senate Bill 5703 amend the limits established during the 2013 legislative session on the maximum amount of bonds and/or third party agreements that state agencies may issue. Total OUS capital budget approved = $29,351,100.

  • OUS’ top three life-safety capital projects were approved: Oregon Institute of Technology - Utility Tunnel Failure and Repair using XI-Q bonds of $1,101,100; Southern Oregon University - McNeal Hall Seismic/Deferred Maintenance Upgrade using XI-Q bonds of $21,300,000; University of Oregon - Utility Tunnel Failure and Repair using XI-Q bonds of $2,100,000.

     
  • In addition, two other OUS capital projects were approved and one pre-existing authorization was cancelled: OSU - Cascade (Bend) Academic Building XI-G bonds $3,850,000; OSU agreed to forego – funding for the Biofuels Demonstration Project which was $4 million in XI-G bonds approved in 2009-11 in exchange for the Cascades Academic Building; Western Oregon University - Oregon Military Academic Building Acquisition - Phase I XI-Q bonds $5,000,000.

     
  • In addition, these bills revised bonds previously authorized in 2013-15 for Central Oregon Community College (COCC) in order to provide COCC with the funding needed to pay-off and renovate its Cascades Hall facility thereby freeing OSU from its lease obligation in this facility.

     
  1. OPERATING BUDGET ACTIONS:

HB 5201 is a budget reconciliation bill that modifies the state budget for the 2013-15 biennium.

  • The measure adds $2 million in State General Fund to OUS for SEIU classified staff compensation agreements ($850,000 for Portland State University, and $1.15 million in total for the Technical and Regional universities (TRU): Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Tech, SOU, and WOU).  During negotiations with SEIU last fall the OUS agreed to accelerate certain raises if the Legislature provided an additional $1.15 million for the TRU’s during the February session. This funding will enable that acceleration for all seven campuses.

     
  • The bill also redirects $4.5 million of the Chancellor’s Office General Fund operating budget, including $3.5 million into a special purpose appropriation that a subsequent Emergency Board will allocate for higher education governance cost changes, and $500,000 of this budget is re-directed to EOU and another $500,000 to SOU as one-time financial assistance for these institutions to be used for strategic reinvestment in student success during a period of budget cutting actions. 

The Oregon University System (OUS) makes college a reality for Oregonians statewide by keeping higher education accessible, affordable and high quality. We integrate Oregon’s public universities with the entire PreK-20 education system to ensure student success. OUS’ higher education offerings meet the needs of Oregon’s economy today and in the future, contributing to the vitality of the state and the success of more than 20,000 graduates a year. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu.

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