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Donald W. Reynolds Foundation gifts $14.8M to OSU's School of Architecture

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Oklahoma State University announced Tuesday a $14.8 million gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to renovate and expand facilities for the university’s nationally renowned School of Architecture. The new facility will be named the Donald W. Reynolds Architecture Building.

“This is a historic gift to OSU and our School of Architecture. It will have a huge and lasting impact on our university and our students,” said OSU System CEO and President David Schmidly. “The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a leader in supporting education and this gift will elevate our architecture school to new levels of achievement. We thank them for their generosity and their leadership.”

The award is the single largest contribution OSU has received from a private foundation.

“We are pleased to be able to reward the excellence of the architecture and architectural engineering programs at OSU. These award-winning students will have a facility that matches their academic programs," said Fred W. Smith, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation chairman.

The nearly $15 million project will create 45,000 square feet of new space and renovate 37,000 square feet of space in the existing OSU Architecture Building. The facility will complete a key element of OSU’s historic Bennett Master Plan.

“Receiving the largest foundation gift in the history of OSU is an enormous accomplishment for Oklahoma State as we continue to strive in broadening our base of private support,” said OSU Foundation President and CEO Kirk Jewell.

The new building will provide OSU with new campus amenities, including a 300-seat auditorium, multimedia classrooms, a visualization/computer lab, gallery space and an expanded architectural library. Spaces dedicated to the School of Architecture will include new design studio space, a model shop, expanded administrative areas to accommodate new faculty and various other spaces which will further enrich the program.

“The generous support provided by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation will provide new opportunities for collaboration between the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology and other colleges on campus,” said Dr. Karl Reid, CEAT Dean. “The new and renovated facility will serve as a gateway to the last sector of the central campus to be developed in keeping with the vision and plan of former OSU President Henry G. Bennett.”

The new building is slated for completion in spring 2009, which will coincide with the School of Architecture’s centennial anniversary.

“This gift will have a transformational impact on OSU and the School of Architecture,” said Randy Seitsinger, School of Architecture professor and head. “The new building will provide faculty and students spaces that will facilitate innovative study and exploration, and will also allow the school to not only energize its undergraduate programs, but to also develop new graduate programs in architecture and architectural engineering.”

The design process for the future building began with a comprehensive four-day design Charrette in April 2004, which brought architecture faculty, students and alumni together to kick off the design process with a combined effort which consisted of over 1,000 man hours. Participants explored a variety of creative ideas that led to the initial concept for the new and renovated Donald W. Reynolds Architecture Building.

The final design of the facility will be led by School of Architecture faculty members working with an Architect of Record firm.

The university has committed to raising $3 million in additional funding to establish an endowment for the school that will provide funding to keep the facility in first-rate condition into the future.

The OSU School of Architecture is one of the strongest in the country with emphasis on professionally oriented programs in architecture and architectural engineering. OSU architectural students consistently win student design competitions, and graduates are in leadership positions with prestigious firms in Oklahoma and around the world. A number of graduates head their own firms.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.

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