Growth is heating up at OSU-Cascades.

illustration of Cascades building using less water and saving more electicity
Edward J. Ray Hall
Construction of Edward J. Ray Hall

Just below its expanding campus, a geothermal energy source will move closer to its long-term objective of net zero energy — consuming only as much energy as can be sustainably generated on-site.

An innovative groundwater-based geo-exchange system will connect to an aquifer 500 feet underground, providing environmentally friendly energy year-round to heat and cool all buildings at the Bend campus.

The first campus building to tap this renewable energy source is under construction and expected to open this fall. , named for Źܼϴȫ’s president from 2003 to 2020 and current president emeritus, will house programs in engineering, kinesiology and outdoor products, along with a new doctoral program in physical therapy.

The 50,000-square foot, four-level academic building will also be the first in Central Oregon to use cross-laminated timber sustainably harvested from Pacific Northwest forests. Its construction and design features also support OSU-Cascades’ goals for energy, as well as water and waste.

OSU-Cascades continues to grow, with enrollment up nearly 5% to 1,374 students in fall 2020. As work continues on a that will serve up to 5,000 students, there’s vast potential still to be tapped.