By Kailey Fisicaro • The Bulletin

Construction of a new, 3,750-square-foot building for Bend Science Station is well underway on the OSU-Cascades campus in southwest Bend.

Bend Science Station has offered laboratory-based science education for K-12 students and training for teachers in Central Oregon since 2002. Currently the science station is located at Central Oregon Community College’s Chandler Building on NW Trenton Avenue, about a mile from the college’s main campus.

Bend Science Station has raised most of the money it needs for a new building, which will provide about a third more space and be located across from OSU-Cascades’ Tykeson Hall.

Bend Science Station designed the new building to meet net-zero standards, which means the energy it produces meets or exceeds the energy it uses in a year.

Crews with CS Construction are in the third stage of building the foundation, according to David Bermudez, the science station’s executive director and lead instructor. The concrete being laid will be polished and serve as the floors of the science station, Bermudez said. All of the utility connections, including for plumbing, gas, electricity and OSU-Cascades’ fire alarm and security camera systems, have already been made, according to Bermudez.

Once the third stage of laying the foundation is complete, likely in the first few days of January, crews will begin building up, Bermudez said. The plan is for the new science station to open Sept. 1, because its lease with the community college at its existing space ends Aug. 31.

The science station has raised $2.34 million of its $2.4 million goal. Originally, Bend Science Station’s capital campaign aimed to raise $2.1 million but that goal was raised to $2.3 million, then $2.4 million, to keep up with changing construction costs, according to Lisa Bermudez, development and marketing director of the Bend Science Station.

The $2.4 million goal will cover the cost of net-zero building, except solar panels, Lisa Bermudez said. The science station is raising an additional $75,000 separate from the main capital campaign to cover the solar panel cost, “because of its very specific environmental nature,” she said. OSU-Cascades has shared the same energy-efficient goal in creating a net-zero campus.

The new building will include two main student laboratories as well as a teacher training laboratory. OSU-Cascades education students will be able to use the teacher training lab as an observation room. There will also be a designated research room at the center of the building for independent projects, plus office space.

“We’re excited about having a permanent home for all the good work that we do,” David Bermudez said.

Because Bend Science Station trains teachers in addition to providing science education for students, it sometimes works with a classroom full of teachers. At its current location though, the science station can’t work with a class of students and a class of teachers at the same time because there’s not enough space. The new building will allow for more classes to take place at once, plus provide a number of partnership opportunities with the Oregon State University branch campus.

“An unbelievable number of synergies will come from the fact that we’ll be co-locating with OSU-Cascades,” David Bermudez said, adding students at Bend Science Station have been excited to hear progress on the new building.

While he’s happy about a new physical space, David Bermudez is most looking forward to the opportunities the new location will provide, he said.

“It’s exciting to be building, but the real exciting part is to be looking at the potential to continue to improve science education in Central Oregon,” David Bermudez said.

— Reporter: 541-383-0325,