By DAN SPATZ

The Dalles Chronicle

Columbia Gorge Community College directors on Monday agreed to exercise an option that could allow purchase of approximately 27 acres in Hood River on Country Club Road.

The purchase, which is contingent upon an appraisal and other issues, would provide future development of classroom facilities in Hood River following that area’s annexation into the college service district in July 2002.

The option would be for up to 36 months, giving time for the college to identify financing strategies for the acquisition, which is estimated to cost $4 million. A college bond measure this November, coupled with state and possibly private funding, would be central to that process, according to college officials.

The bond measure is also designed to fund infrastructure repairs at The Dalles campus. The interested seller is Ladd Henderson of Hood River. The site is close to a parcel proposed for future development of a new Wal-Mart. Under the purchase option, the college would pay the Hendersons $10,000 per month, an amount which would not go toward the ultimate purchase price. (The option itself is for a smaller percentage of the total value than is customary.)

On a related note, the college is negotiating with a Portland-based firm, Gerding-Edlin Development, with the goal of a public/private development that could reduce the role of public monies in later construction. Gerding-Edlin developed the Brewery Block in southwest Portland and is currently constructing student housing for Portland State University.

College director Dr. James Willcox moved approval of the option in Monday’s meeting, following an hour-long executive session. Dr. Ernest Keller seconded the motion, which was approved unanimously.

“It gives us a lot of options,” said Dennis Whitehouse, the college’s campus facilities manager. “There’s enough property there to meet the college’s needs and develop a revenue stream for the college.”

“It’s a great opportunity for the college,” added Robert Cole, resource development director. “It’s a tremendous value for the entire adult education program in the Hood River Valley.”

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