Oregon State University announced plans Tuesday to develop and construct new student housing in Newport to support the university’s Marine Studies Initiative. “Following an extensive and deliberative evaluation of the Marine Studies Initiative program, university leaders have developed a plan to phase construction of student housing in Newport,” said Steve Clark, vice president of university relations and marketing. “The construction will take place outside the tsunami inundation zone, as committed by OSU President Ed Ray.”
The housing will be built on approximately 5 acres of OSU-owned property in the Wilder development in south Newport. A first phase of housing will be designed to serve up to 160 students at any one time. Clark said the first phase of housing will meet the needs of Marine Studies Initiative students who currently are based at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport for portions of the academic year.
Development of the new housing is pending OSU Board of Trustees review in winter and spring 2020, as well as local land use and building permit approvals. Dependent upon approvals, the first phase could open in summer of 2021. The Marine Studies Initiative is a university-wide effort to address ocean health and coastal challenges by creating a global education and research program that blends the science of oceanography with other academic disciplines.
As part of the initiative, OSU aims to educate a total of 300 to 500 students in Newport over the course of a year, and hundreds more in Corvallis and elsewhere throughout the university, Clark said. OSU also is exploring the viability of offering students a full academic year residential experiential learning opportunity at Hatfield under the Marine Studies Initiative program. If the program proves viable, the university would pursue a second phase of student housing development in Newport to support it.
Additionally, a portion of the OSU development site in Newport will be designated as a possible location of a future public-private housing partnership. The site could serve OSU faculty and staff with housing and provide employee housing for government, education or non-profit partners. Planning for that phase would be based upon partners’ interest and would begin once a viable partnership structure is approved.