Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) and the Oregon University System (OUS) have completed framing the largest construction project in Portland.  The tower, called Skourtes Tower, will be a 12-story office building at the OHSU/OUS Collaborative Life Sciences Building in South Waterfront.  The contractor for the project is J.E. Dunn Construction.  “J.E. Dunn Construction previously topped off the podium section of the project in September,” according to the Portland Business Journal.

The Collaborative Life Sciences Building, located on the Schnitzer Campus in South Waterfront, cost about $295 million.  The building is 480,000 square feet.  It will allow OHSU, OUS, and Portland State University (PSU) to expand the number of doctors, dentists, and researchers who graduate from Oregon institutions.

The project is located at 2750 S.W. Moody Avenue in Portland’s South Waterfront.  The partners collectively broke ground on the project mid 2011, and they will begin opening the building in phases in late 2013.  The building will eventually serve about 1,600 students annually.

The building was designed to LEED Platinum levels by SERA Architects and CO Architects, and the 20-acre site was donated to OHSU in 2004 by Schnitzer Investment Co.  The project has also received funding from state bonds ($110 million), OHSU ($92 million), Trimet ($10 million), and contributions ($83 million).  The lead gift was contributed by Bonnie and Gene Skourtes, who gave $10 million to make the building the new home of OHSU’s dental program.  ODS Health Plan Inc. contributed $5 million to the dental school for the project.

In October, Governor John Kitzhaber led groundbreaking festivities for the project.  The building is made up of two distinct structures joined by an atrium.  Skourtes Tower is a glass, box-shaped structure.

Besides dental, the rest of the building will be used for a variety of projects, mostly for OHSU.  The university will be able to expand its MD program to 160 students, as opposed to 120.  The OSU/OHSU Doctor of Pharmacy program will also move to the new location, which allows it to expand to accommodate class sizes of 115, as opposed to 90.  PSU will host chemistry and biology courses in the building, and this will “allow Oregon’s largest public university to upgrade its undergraduate science offerings,” according to Wendy Culverwell.

This new project will provide opportunities for growth to everyone involved, and the possibilities are endless for what it can bring to the South Waterfront area.  Keep an eye out for the development of this project, to be finished late 2013.

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