Alum returns to build Health & Science center

Alum returns to build Health & Science center

Elise Hamner Alumni, foundation

If you’d asked Jesse Schade when he was a basketball playing student here from 1995-97 if he’d ever come back to SWOCC, it’s likely he would have said, “probably not.”

Careful what you say.

Building a better future

Basketball and Coach Tom Nicholls enticed him back again in 1999-2000 and now — déjà vu. Jesse is here as a construction project manager with Bogatay Construction. He’s helping build the college’s new $24 million Umpqua Health & Science Building – helping inspire tomorrow’s engineers, scientists and health care professionals.

“My parents are happy to have me home,” he said, speaking of Wayne and Debbie Schade.

Really, SWOCC has been a part of Jesse’s life since he was in fourth grade. His dad volunteered Jesse and his brother as the little guys who cleaned the basketball court. They watched a lot of games in those days. Eventually in high school, he played scrimmages with the SWOCC team and then signed onto SWOCC’s men’s basketball team.

Now, Jesse, his wife and their four children live in Klamath Falls, where Bogatay Construction is based. He was surprised Bogatay bid on the SWOCC building, and when Bogatay got the bid, he couldn’t wait to work on the project.

“Our work trailer is parked in the spot where I used to park,” he said, with a big grin.

You never know when you enroll in SWOCC pursuing a transfer degree, where it might lead you. For Jesse, his studies took him on to Western Oregon University for an earth science degree. Eventually, he owned his own residential construction business, until Matt Bogatay lured Jesse and his whole crew into their construction firm. 

Celebrating a heritage

Now with Bogatay, Jesse is looking forward to learning new skills in working with the massive cross-laminated timbers (CLT product from DR Johnson Lumber Co. in Riddle) that will go into the new Health & Science building. The wood structuring celebrates innovation and the region’s wood products heritage. The project will really take off once the crew installs the steel framing structure.

“When they get done and leave, the backbone of the whole show will be there. And then it’s just decorating it and making it look beautiful,” he said.

Working on this project a nice way, Jesse said, to give back to the college that been a part of his life off and on for three decades.