Regents approve purchase of research orchard

TRI-CITIES – The Board of Regents of Washington State University has approved the purchase of Sunrise Orchards near Palisades, Wash., for use as a research, extension and teaching site.

The cost of the property is $1.1 million. The regents took action during their regularly scheduled meeting Friday, March 3, on the WSU Tri-Cities campus.

Because of encroaching housing development, WSU sold 70 of its 100 acres in Wenatchee to the Wenatchee School District three years ago. The school district bought the land for future expansion, so WSU has been able to maintain its research orchard there.

The center’s office, labs and shop will remain on the 30 acres still owned by WSU in Wenatchee. The purchase will include about 150 acres of orchard property, 20 acres of highway frontage and 137 acres of undeveloped land.

In other action, the board approved:

* The issuance of revenue bonds to pay for renovation of the Compton Union Building in Pullman. Cost of the project is $86 million; about 60 percent of that cost will be paid through a student fee, approved by students last spring. The building will be closed at the end of spring semester.
Scheduled completion date for the project is August 2008.

* A lease with the Student Book Corporation; the Bookie will become an anchor tenant in the renovated CUB. The annual lease rate is just over $1 million.

* Purchase of the property that currently is home to the Bookie at 700 NE Thatuna on the Pullman campus. The university will pay the appraised value of $4.5 million; the building will be converted for educational uses.

* Beginning the process for selection of a general contractor/construction manager for Phases 1 and 2 of the Martin Stadium renovation project.

* Schematic design for the Center for Precision Agricultural Systems in Prosser. The $2.5 million building will support research in robotic agricultural harvesting and general farming equipment. Construction is slated to begin this spring and last about a year.

* More details on all WSU capital projects can be found at

The Board of Regents’ next meeting will be held May 5 in Pullman.

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