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PSU lands big gift for new Viking Pavilion
Author: Scott Gallagher
Posted: September 11, 2012

An anonymous $5 million gift will help transform Portland State University’s (PSU) outdated athletics facility into a lively center for academic, athletic and community events.

“We are grateful to receive this gift which demonstrates tremendous support for both the university and the city,” said Wim Wiewel, PSU president. 

The contribution is earmarked for the Viking Pavilion, a project to transform the Peter W. Stott Center on the South Park Blocks into a light-filled, mixed-use building. The renovated building will serve traditional academic, athletic and social needs and fill a void in Portland for a mid-sized venue capable of hosting a wide variety of public events.

“Our existing building is about 50 years old and deferred maintenance costs are high. It’s time to renovate and open it up for greater use,” said Torre Chisholm, PSU athletic director. In addition to at least $20 million in private contributions, PSU is requesting $24 million in state bonds to fund the $44 million project.

The $5 million commitment, from a private individual who chooses to remain anonymous, follows a milestone year of fundraising success for PSU. The university received more than $19.7 million in gifts in the 2011-12 

school year, a 12 percent increase over the previous year and a 37 percent increase since fall 2010. 

“As a leading urban university, PSU is able to secure seven- and eight-figure gifts and its fundraising performance is outpacing national trends,” said Francoise Aylmer, vice president for University Advancement. Nationally, philanthropy to education grew by 4.9 percent in the 2011-12 school year.  

The Viking Pavilion will feature:

  • An academic center for student advising, academic coaching and tutoring, with computer labs and study areas
  • Stage event seating for 5,500, banquet seating for 1,100, exhibit space of 55,000 square feet
  • The ability to host 140 public events a year, attracting more than 330,000 people downtown and generating more than $7.5 million in event-related spending 
  • Health and physical education classrooms
  • Basketball arena seating for 4,800 (compared to 1,500 currently)
  • Energy-efficient, sustainable design and construction. The Viking Pavilion is projected to create 396 construction jobs and support the equivalent of 24 permanent full-time jobs.