Western Oregon University buys Vick building in downtown Salem to expand its Salem presence

Photo of Vick Building in Salem with WOU:Salem logo and text reading "permanent home, opening fall 2020"

Western Oregon University (WOU) finalized today the purchase of the historical Vick building in downtown Salem at 525 Trade St. WOU’s Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to approve the purchase. The Vick building will be WOU’s Salem home for several programs, including the brand new Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership.

“We’re thrilled to be joining Salem’s vibrant downtown. This strengthens our regional impact with a permanent Salem presence,” said WOU President Rex Fuller. “This purchase is an investment in not only Western Oregon University’s future, but the future of Oregonians and our state.”

WOU began its expansion to Salem in early 2019 with classes and programs for working adults in the Willamette Education Service District (WESD) building in south Salem. WOU purchased the Vick building from Roger Yost for $2.735 million, with the assistance of WOU alum George Grabenhorst with SNV Commercial Advisors, LLC. This includes $100,000 for a newly developed Roger Yost Leadership Endowed Scholarship, which will go to a WOU:Salem student.

WOU’s new programs that are only offered in Salem are the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership and the A.B. in Liberal Studies; both offer hybrid courses to help working adults complete degrees. An M.S. Ed in Special Education is offered in Salem, as well as courses for bachelor’s degrees in psychology, criminal justice and interdisciplinary studies. Salem courses will continue in the Willamette ESD for the 2019-20 academic year. All WOU:Salem offerings will be in the Vick building beginning fall 2020, after minor renovations, furnishings and signage are completed.

Downtown Salem will serve as a great location for WOU:Salem with its convenient public transportation. As the central and historical sector of Oregon’s second-largest city, WOU will be well-suited to deliver transformative education and personalized service to the area. Currently, WOU is the only Oregon public university offering a significant face-to-face component in Salem.

“We are very excited to have WOU in downtown Salem. We have a growing economy downtown that is being fueled by creative entrepreneurs. To have WOU join this ecosystem will add to downtown vibrancy and create new opportunities for partnership that will support this growth through leadership development and meeting workforce needs,” said Kristin Retherford, City of Salem Urban Development Director.

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