Renovation project starts at Pacific University

Construction will begin in May on a new look for the University Center at Pacific University. The renovation is one of several projects under way at the Forest Grove campus.

The two-story University Center building, originally constructed in 1963, is considered outdated for the university’s plans for growth. The building needs cosmetic updating and greater accessibility, said Joe Lang, Pacific University’s media relations director.

“The overall use of the space itself is going to be more inviting for students,” Lang said. “We are trying to enhance what’s already a close-knit feeling for students, employees and guests.”

Asbestos work on the building was completed during the school’s recent spring break. Renovation on exterior portions of the building, including facades and entryways, will begin next month.

“The challenge is (that) we’re still in session with our students,” Lang said. “The bulk of the construction will likely happen after spring session.”

Design and construction of the project will be handled by a project team made up of the Portland-based firms of Opsis Architecture, Inici Group Inc., and Walsh Construction Co.

Interior work will include an energy-efficiency remodel, new paint, carpeting, and increased accessibility to bathrooms on the first floor of the building, Lang said.

The center also will be remodeled to bring the Pacific University Bookstore, operated by Barnes & Noble, back on campus. The bookstore was moved off campus in the past several years.

The project comes on the heels of construction of a new 200-bed residence hall adjacent to the university center. That residence hall also will be completed by the start of fall term, Lang said. Inici, Portland-based Mahlum Architects Inc. and Walsh Construction are on the project team for the residence hall, Lang said.

Construction of a second new residence hall and other improvements to buildings on the north end of the campus would likely be made in the next two to five years, depending on the university’s economic situation, Lang said.

The new construction and renovations are in response to university expectations that the Forest Grove campus will see enrollment increase from its present1,800 students to 2,000 students by 2020, Lang said.