Recorded on: November 3, 2017
Air Date: November 6, 2017
It’s not every day that a benefactor makes a $500 million gift to a public university in Oregon. Since the October 2016 announcement that Phil and Penny Knight have promised to give $50 million each year for the next decade (matched by other private donations and fundraising), there has been a buzz of anticipation around this new addition to the University of Oregon. Groundbreaking on this billion-dollar new scientific and research campus is expected in February 2018.
The new campus will soon transform the north side of Franklin Boulevard into a concentrated hub of research and innovation. Some welcome the spectacular architectural style that is anticipated, while others are more cautious in embracing such change. What might temper the harshness of big changes on Franklin Boulevard is the expected economic benefit from the project.
More than 1,000 construction jobs are expected to be created, and between 750 and 1,000 permanent positions will be supported by the laboratory and research facilities. Once fully staffed, the UO Knight Campus is expected to generate an estimated $80 million to $100 million annually in economic activity in the area.
The Knight campus will have a significant impact for students by increasing the opportunities to participate in scientific research and innovation. The vision is to create a regional hub for academic excellence in science, where innovations developed in Oregon stay here locally, and add economic development for the South Willamette Valley.
Chris Edwards is the University of Oregon’s Assistant Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, and a former Oregon State Senator. He presents the vision of the Knight Campus, explains why it is needed, and discusses the community, statewide, and global impacts of the new campus.
Copyright KLCC, 2017