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UO seeks third link of building triangle.

Byline: Greg Bolt The Register-Guard

The third piece of a building triad that would create a new eastern entrance to the University of Oregon is in the planning pipeline.

The university has filed preliminary design documents for a five-story, 70,000-square-foot alumni center on a piece of property known as the "Franklin triangle" on Franklin Boulevard.

The site is a triangular plot across Agate Street from Oregon Hall and just north of the UO's new arena site and the Hamilton housing complex.

The alumni center, along with the proposed $200 million basketball arena and a proposed academic center for student athletes, would create a new main gate to the UO at its Agate Street entrance off Franklin. Construction on the arena and academic center are expected to begin this summer.

But plans for the alumni center, formally named the Cheryl and Allyn Ford Alumni Center, aren't as far along. The university hasn't raised all the money it needs to start construction.

The center is expected to cost about $20 million. The UO generally needs to have 80 percent of a building's cost in hand before it begins construction, and university spokesman Phil Weiler said Friday that the UO hasn't reached that level yet.

But the university says it decided to begin initial planning and design work so architects for the alumni center can work with the designers for the academic center and arena and ensure that the entire district fits together in an attractive way.

As currently envisioned, the upper three floors of the alumni center would house offices for the UO Alumni Association, the university fundraising and advancement department, and the UO Foundation.

The first floor would have the main lobby and space for the career center, which helps students with career choices and job searches. The second floor would have general meeting space, including a 3,600-square-foot great room, a multipurpose meeting room and library/lounge.

A plaza area would connect the alumni center to the academic center. The plaza could be used for outdoor events.

As part of the preliminary planning process, the university wants to talk to the city about a possible redesign of East 13th Avenue between Agate and Franklin. The street would separate the alumni and academic centers from the arena and Hamilton complex.

The city is planning on repaving the street as part of its preparations for this summer's U.S. Olympic Track &Field Trials, the planning documents say. But the three projects will have a "profound effect on the character and use of 13th Avenue," and the university wants to talk about its plans before the city commits to repaving.

The alumni center is being named after the Fords, who made a lead gift of $5 million toward the project. The Fords head family-owned Roseburg Forest Products, and Cheryl Ford earned a psychology degree from the UO in 1966.

No date has been set for the start of construction.
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Title Annotation:City/Region; An alumni center will sit near the new arena and athletes' academic structure
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 29, 2008
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