By Associated Press - Monday, March 20, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The city of Portland and its three biggest colleges said Monday they are teaming up to build a $100 million education and health center.

If state funding is approved, the building would be constructed downtown at what is now a city-owned parking lot near Portland State University. Besides PSU, the other schools chipping in are Oregon Health & Science University and Portland Community College.

The 200,000-square-foot building would house the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, PSU’s Graduate School of Education and PCC’s dental programs. It also would include a community dental clinic and an office for low-cost mental health services.

It’s the first time the three schools would share programs in one building.

“We are very excited to leverage the power of PSU, OHSU and PCC to train Portland’s future health and education leaders,” PSU President Wim Wiewel said in a statement.

PSU has asked the Oregon Legislature to approve $51 million in bonds for the project. The city of Portland will contribute $15 million. Additional funds will come from PSU, OHSU and PCC.

Though the project has been designated a top priority by the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission, it’s not a certainty that legislators will approve the full $51 million.

Competition comes from the University of Oregon, which wants $100 million for a new science campus, and Oregon State University, which seeks almost $70 million to expand its branch campus in Bend.

With state funding, construction on the three-school building would start next year. It would likely open in September 2020.

Still in the design phase, the structure is projected to be at least seven stories tall. Besides the academic programs, it would be home to ground-floor retail and restaurants and a Portland city bureau.

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