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OSU set to begin unprecedented building period

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Oklahoma State University System will soon be amid an unprecedented capital improvement period, with nearly $309.8 million worth of construction projects, either planned or already underway.

Speaking at a regular meeting of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents at OSU-Tulsa on Friday, System CEO and President David J. Schmidly said OSU is entering a building period unmatched in its history, with current or planned construction projects worth more than $253.8 million for academics and student needs and $56 million in athletics improvements.

“For the next three to five years, OSU will build a record number of outstanding facilities that will help us achieve our goal of becoming a top 75 comprehensive research institution,” Schmidly said. “From academics to research to athletics, OSU will be a much different and much-improved university for our students, faculty and staff.”

Schmidly told regents that the OSU System will receive $108.1 million from the 2005 Higher Education Bond issue and has identified an additional $52.7 million to supplement the bond issue and pay for further improvements and new campus facilities.

OSU also has an additional $149 million in construction projects and other planned improvements that are being paid for with funds from other state, private and federal sources.

“Higher education is vital to the people of Oklahoma and our state’s future success,” Schmidly said. “These projects are smart investments, and we are committed to getting the most out of the dollars that will be given to us. We also have been fortunate in finding additional resources to put together a comprehensive plan to improve educational and research facilities at all of our campuses.”

At OSU-Tulsa, for example, $12.9 million in bond issue money is helping to pay for a $41.49-million Advanced Technology Research Center, with site work scheduled to start in late August. Additional funds are coming from the city of Tulsa’s Vision 2025 bonds.

The center will focus on developing next-generation composites and materials for industries such as aerospace, biotechnology, telecommunications, and manufacturing.

Scheduled for completion in summer 2007, the ATRC will create new jobs and attract new industries to the Tulsa region. The center will produce an annual payroll of about $4 million and attract an additional $5-6 million in federal and private research funds.

Following Schmidly’s remarks, regents gave OSU the go-ahead to begin the process of selecting design firms and taking other preliminary steps for $90.8 million in bond issue projects and $23 million in other projects that will be funded by state, federal and private sources.

These include:

  • A $70.3 million interdisciplinary Science and Technology Center will dramatically improve OSU’s research capabilities by providing state-of-the-art laboratories and other research space. The funding will also renovate and update existing laboratories vacated by scientists who move into the new center. The center will be paid for with $66.3 million in bond proceeds and the rest from other sources. The planned location is west of the Physical Sciences building near Monroe Street.
  • A $20 million Multi-Modal Transportation facility that will serve as a transportation hub for the OSU campus and regional users. The facility, on the northeast corner of Hall of Fame Avenue and Monroe Street, will be paid for with $15 million in Federal Transit Administration funds and $5 million in user and parking fees.
  • A $7 million classroom building will be built on the north side of the OSU campus in partnership with Northern Oklahoma College. NOC has pledged $3 million of its bond issue money for the building, and OSU will use $1 million from the bond issue and $3 million from other sources for the project.
  • A $3.5 million Public Safety Training Facility at OSU-Oklahoma City will consist of new training areas to enhance and expand existing academic programs in police, fire, emergency medical services and emergency management. Funding will come from the bond issue and other sources.
  • A $3 million project to renovate Old Central for the OSU Honors College. Funding will be provided by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Capital Lease Program.
  • A $4 million project to renovate and improve the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa. Funding will come from the bond issue.
  • A $6 million Rural Health Science and Technology Center at OSU-Okmulgee, with total funding from bond proceeds. The center will contain laboratories, classrooms and offices for applied research, technology transfer, technical education and clinical residency.

Still in the planning stages are $70 million in additional OSU-System bond issue projects, including the renovation of Murray Hall at OSU-Stillwater. The $16-million project will convert the former residence hall into modern classrooms, computer laboratories, offices and auditoriums.

OSU Provost and Senior Vice President Marlene Strathe said a majority of Murray Hall will be assigned to departments within the OSU College of Arts and Sciences; however, faculty from other colleges may use facilities in the building and will teach in general university classrooms. She said a planning committee is determining the optimum space utilization for the building.

Also in the planning stage is a $12.4-million upgrade of the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, which a special legislative appropriation will fund.

Construction already underway at OSU includes $61 million in new student housing and the $56-million Phase Two modernization of Boone Pickens Stadium.

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