- University of Oregon officials on Friday revealed the design for a new $1 billion science and research center, according to KLCC, and projected that construction of the new facility would begin in the spring of 2018.
- The Knight Campus for Accelerated Scientific Impact, which officials said should be open in approximately three years, is funded by a $500 million donation from Penny and Phil Knight, who is a co-founder of Nike, as well as $50 million in state bonds and $225 million from the university, a spend that the U of O board of trustees approved last week. The university, according to Oregon Live, still must raise $500 million from other donors.
- The 160,000-square-foot project, which was designed by Ennead Architects in New York City, will be completed in phases, the first of which will be a $225 million set of buildings connected by a glass terrace. One of the lead architects, Todd Schliemann, told KLCC that the new complex will provide researchers and students with a compact, collaborative space.
Universities, even those with large endowments, must plan their capital projects carefully. Many are strapped for cash and are looking for innovative ways to fund these initiatives.
The University of California, Merced opted for a public-private partnership (P3) arrangement to deliver its $1.3 billion expansion, which is currently underway and expected to be complete in 2020. Plenary Properties Merced (PPM) is the private consortium leading the project, which includes new teaching space, research facilities, residential units for 1,700 more students and recreational spaces. PPM, which kicked in $590 million of financing, also has a 39-year operation and maintenance contract with the university that begins after the project is complete.
Russell Garcia, Johnson Controls' director of higher education for North America, told Construction Dive earlier this month that UC Merced, as well as other public universities, are using energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs), which help them pay for certain projects based on projected savings. For example, if a campus can save $500,000 of energy costs a year by installing LED lighting, some states will advance the university those funds so they can complete the LED projects, as well as others if there's enough cash left.
Under certain types of ESPC project agreements, Garcia said, Johnson Controls will project how much a university can save and then cover any shortfall if the company's forecast misses the mark.