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OSU Regents Approve Transit, Parking Facility Site, Demolition of Out-dated Building

Friday, April 22, 2005

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma State University’s plans to improve parking at the Stillwater campus and streamline the transit systems it operates, including the daily Oklahoma City and Tulsa shuttles, will move forward following a vote today by its regents.

The Oklahoma State University/A&M College Board of Regents approved a site for the construction of a multimodal facility on university-owned property north of the Stillwater campus. OSU will now seek a designer for the three- to five-story complex that will feature 1,500 parking spots, a dozen bus berths and space for office and retail accommodations.

The selection of the site at the corner of Monroe and Scott Streets was based on the recommendation of project consultant, Desman Associates. With assistance from a committee of OSU students, faculty and staff, the national firm that specializes in parking and transit planning evaluated 12 different locations surrounding campus.

While construction of the facility will require the permanent closing of Scott Street between Monroe and Washington, the site was found to provide the optimal combination of accessibility, centrality and bus routing flexibility with the fewest drawbacks.

“The multimodal facility will alleviate the parking problem we have on our campus, and it will allow us to coordinate parking with transit,” said Hugh Kierig, manager of OSU Parking and Transit Services. “At this site, the facility can be a sort of gateway to the campus and potentially improve how pedestrian, automobile and other kinds of traffic flow onto the campus.”

The Benham Companies, the consulting firm currently updating the OSU-Stillwater campus master plan, concurred with the Desman recommendation.

The master plan will project the facility’s long-term impact on pedestrian and vehicular traffic patterns and usage of the community transit system and the Big Orange Buses that travel to and from Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

Kierig said construction of the multimodal facility is tentatively slated to begin in summer 2006 and be completed in December 2007. Eighty percent of its cost will be funded by a Federal Transit Authority grant.

On a separate infrastructure matter, the board also approved the demolition of the Home Economics/Geography Building on Hester Street north of the Student Union. OSU Physical Plant Services will use its small jobs contracting system to engage a firm to raze the building that has stood empty for the past 10 years.

Constructed in 1920 to house the School of Home Economics, Building No. 8 was designed by Frederick W. Redlich, the head of OSU’s School of Architecture, with assistance from Ruth Michaels, dean of home economics.

OSU’s geography department moved into the building in the 1950s and stayed there until moving to Scott Hall in 1996. Building No. 8 has since served as makeshift storage.

According to Jeff Stewart, interim chief facilities officer for OSU Physical Plant Services, the expense of bringing the building’s physical systems up to modern code was cost prohibitive. Also, the dilapidated three-story structure’s design and lack of an elevator presented almost insurmountable obstacles to making it ADA compliant.

Demolition of the structure is scheduled to take place in May, and the location will be returned to a lawn area. The new campus master plan will address future usage of the space.
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