By Ilene Aleshire, The Register Guard

CORVALLIS — The state Legislature has approved $29.7 million in state bonding to help fund the Oregon Forest Science Complex at Oregon State University.

The project aims to boost economic growth and create jobs while also supporting development of environmentally friendly wood construction, OSU officials said Wednesday.

The bond money, which will be matched by private funds, will help pay for construction of a new classroom and laboratory building and a state-of-the-art advanced wood products laboratory designed to support Oregon’s manufactured wood products industry and wood-building design companies, OSU officials said.

“With this project investment, the state of Oregon is doubling down to lead a new national effort to advance the science and technology of environmentally friendly wood construction,” College of Forestry Dean Thomas Maness said in a statement.

“We are partnering with companies in our forest products industry to bring new jobs to rural communities,” Maness said.

The new 85,000-square-foot classroom and research center will replace Peavy Hall on the Corvallis campus and will be used for professional forestry, wood science, renewable materials and interdisciplinary natural-resource education programs.

The new 20,000-square-foot research facility will be used to develop and test new wood-building products that could be manufactured in Oregon. The Advanced Wood Building Products Laboratory will include a high-bay lab, computer-controlled and robotic manufacturing systems and what OSU says is a unique strong floor for full-scale product testing.

The new facilities are scheduled to open in fall 2017, according to OSU.

Maness said the expanded research and degree programs that will be offered as a result of the expansion will give students “a real-life glimpse into the future of forestry and the wood products industry” while creating a trained workforce for the industry.

The new complex will be used by forestry and engineering students and faculty at OSU and also by students and faculty in the University of Oregon’s School of Architecture and Allied Arts.

Among the innovations already being developed at OSU are cross-laminated timber panels, environmentally friendly adhesives, innovative connection systems that shorten construction time, and new applications of wood-based composites, OSU officials said.