UO says they've hired architects and builders for Knight Science Campus

Knight Campus town hall and Q&A at the University of Oregon EMU building. (SBG, AF)

EUGENE, Ore. – The idea of a new science building at the University of Oregon is quickly turning into a reality.

Students, faculty, and members of the public attended a town hall this morning about the latest updates on the $1 billion Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact.

“We've hired architects. We've hired builders. We've begun our planning process,” said Patrick Phillips, acting executive director of the Knight Campus.

Phillips said the team has been having ongoing conversations with the property owners who are currently operating where the Knight Campus will be along Franklin Boulevard.

The Knight Campus project was kick-started in October when Penny and Phil Knight made a historic $500 million gift.

The Knight Campus will be self-funded by state and endowment funding. It will include 15 labs and create 200 new jobs.

“That's just with the initial gift. Over the 10-year period with the billion-dollar initiative, we expect more, 600 to 700 total,” said Phillips. “We can’t hire anybody until the new building is built. We’ll start looking at candidates in 2019, and the building is expected to open in 2020.

Members of the audience at the town hall asked several questions about the project.

Phillips had an answer for every one.

“One of the questions that came up today was the involvement of the Mill Race, which we are very cognizant of, and we want to make sure that's an enhancing feature of the sight and that we actually use this as an opportunity to enhance the Mill Race,” said Phillips.

The Knight Campus is expected to train a new generation of scientists, who will lead groundbreaking research which will improve the quality of living for people worldwide.

“So I asked about the decision to focus on elevating all research as opposed to a grand challenge. A grand challenge is when you focus on a particular area like water or depression or something like that," said Betsy Boyd, federal affair associate vice president.

Phillips answered that there will not be a grand challenge focus, and that there is still much excitement for what is planned.

"It's a once in a lifetime, once in a generation opportunity so we're really trying to make the most of it,” said Phillips.

Architects will start designing the interior of the building with layouts and footprints this summer. Then they will start designing the exterior of the building.

You can keep up with all of the latest knight campus updates by visiting the Knight Campus website.

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