Lane President Mary Spilde and Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz received the 2012 Intergovernmental Team Award from the Lane Council of Governments at its annual Appreciation Dinner on February 28. The duo was credited for working together on Lane’s new Downtown Campus, which is widely heralded as a catalyst of downtown redevelopment.
The two set an outstanding example of individual leaders reaching across traditional boundaries to join forces for the greater public good, sitting sat down together in 2009 for some serious outside-the-box thinking. They took back to their respective board, council and common community a vision for a new Lane Community College downtown campus to rise from the depths of one of the city’s most wearisome eyesores, the pit where an old Sears store once stood. Now, a $53 million campus has emerged, including a first-ever student apartment building for the college, and a dazzlingly innovative new academic, business and community building.
Both buildings are exemplary models of sustainability in keeping with like-minded goals and values held by the city, the college and throughout the region. The housing building meets LEED Gold energy efficiency standards, and the academic building will earn the rating system’s highest level—LEED Platinum. Innovations include geothermal wells, rainwater harvesting, solar-thermal arrays, passive ventilation, green roofing, and much more. The campus is gaining national attention as an example of how to build green in an urban environment.
Praised as a significant catalyst of downtown redevelopment, the project is bringing new residents downtown, including students from across the country and the world, as well as new businesses, new shoppers, and new visitors. All are contributing to the diversity of the community, the growth of the local economy, and improvement in Eugene’s downtown, long a goal for the community.
The Downtown Campus will directly serve more than 8,000 students annually, helping Lane better serve the rest of its 37,000 students per year throughout its district.
This exciting project would not have been possible without the leadership of Mary Spilde and Jon Ruiz. Spilde sought and secured ambitious funding from over 10 different sources including city, state and federal agencies. Ruiz provided leadership for city staff, shepherded successful amendment of the city’s urban renewal plan in order to clear funding for the project, and approved transfer of the 10th and Charnelton site to Lane. Their combined leadership provided a much-needed vision for the community to move forward.