The Port of Benton received just one proposal to its plan to build a dorm for Washington State University Tri-Cities students.
Port officials are expected to discuss the proposal with university officials this week, Diahann Howard, the port’s director of economic development and government affairs, said in a message to the Herald.
A university spokesman said officials at the Richland campus have participated in the project when possible but said the proposed dorm is a port project.
“They are following their (request for proposals) process,” communications director Jeff Dennison said.
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Word of the partnership between the port and university on a student housing project surfaced at the end of 2014.
Details about the scope of the proposed idea, from the size of the building, the estimated construction cost and where it could be built, haven’t been discussed publicly. Port officials have said they are considering port-owned property near the university, but haven’t ruled out other options.
A more vibrant campus that is attractive to students has been a stated goal of the university, particularly since Chancellor H. Keith Moo-Young arrived nearly two years ago. Student housing either on campus or nearby was seen as a component of that goal, and university and student leaders have said it would enhance the student experience.
An agreement between the university and the Timbers apartment complex south of the campus between Jadwin Avenue and Stevens Drive reserved units just for WSU students, with the university providing a resident assistant who organizes activities.
Not all 25 of the apartments set aside for students are used, but that has not worried university officials, nor does it rule out the need for a dorm, they’ve said.