Corvallis, Ore. — Oregon State University President Ed Ray today confirmed that the university’s new Marine Studies Building will be built at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

This decision follows more than a year’s work and scientific evaluation by an oversight committee that Ray created in October 2016 to monitor the design, engineering and eventual construction of this new building and related student housing to be built on higher ground in Newport.

“I am confident that the results of this oversight, analysis and significant public engagement will result in a safer and more resilient Marine Studies Building and overall HMSC campus,” Ray said.

“By constructing the Marine Studies Building at HMSC with a vertical evacuation component, Oregon State University will provide for greater safety for the Yaquina Bay community and all of those who visit, work and study at the Hatfield Marine Science Center,” Ray said. “At the same time, the building will serve as an Oregon, national and global model for safety and resilience within coastal communities.”

The oversight committee conducted four meetings, in addition to a public forum on the Corvallis campus in May 2017. An independent, technical peer review panel made up of internationally acclaimed engineers advised the committee. Oversight participants included liaisons from the Associated Student Body of Oregon State University, the colleges of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Engineering, Liberal Arts, and HMSC. Scott Ashford, dean of Oregon State’s College of Engineering, chaired the committee, which reported to Provost and Executive Vice President Ed Feser. Here is a link to the oversight committee’s work.

OSU will engage with the city of Newport, Lincoln County and community partners to further plan and expand natural disaster preparations, including for horizontal evacuation systems to nearby Safe Haven Hill. As well, OSU will conduct oversight review of planning for the construction of student housing.

Ray noted that the oversight committee and its liaisons, the technical peer review committee and the many stakeholders on all sides of this issue made significant contributions to this evaluation and thanked them for their service and input.

Ray originally announced his decision to locate the Marine Studies Building at HMSC in August 2016. At that time, he committed that the university would undertake the following steps before construction of the Marine Studies Building and student housing began:

* The buildings will be designed, engineered and constructed to survive a magnitude 9.0 earthquake.

* The Marine Studies Building will be constructed to survive an associated tsunami resulting from a catastrophic natural event, such as a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

* The Marine Studies Building will be repairable following an L-level tsunami.

* The Marine Studies Building will serve as a safe and accessible vertical evacuation site in the event of an XXL tsunami.

* The HMSC campus will be served by a preferred horizontal evacuation site.

* All work associated with building construction and operation would be carried out transparently and with full information to stakeholders.

* The project will be built on time and on budget.

Hatfield Marine Science Center

About OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center: The center is a research and teaching facility located in Newport, Ore., on the Yaquina Bay estuary, about one mile from the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. It plays an integral role in programs of marine and estuarine research and instruction, as a laboratory serving resident scientists, as a base for far-ranging oceanographic studies and as a classroom for students. In addition to Oregon State researchers and students, its campus includes research activities and facilities from five different state and federal agencies.

Story By: 

Steve Clark
[email protected]


Steve Clark
[email protected]


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