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OSU to move forward with Campus Master Plan following Regents' approval

Friday, March 3, 2006

STILLWATER, OKLA. – The Oklahoma State University System/A&M College Board of Regents today approved OSU’s campus master plan that will result in more than $826 million in improvements over the next five years. 

OSU System CEO and President David Schmidly thanked the Regents for the decision allowing OSU to move forward with its unprecedented period of development. 

“This expansion is historic and represents an exciting period of growth unparalleled in the university’s history,” Schmidly said.  “It will make OSU a more competitive public university in academics, campus life and athletics.”

OSU Board of Regents Chairman Burns Hargis said, “This has been a long process and we appreciate the participation of many people.   In particular, the Board wants to thank President Schmidly for his leadership in guiding us through this challenging, yet momentous planning process. After you carefully and thoughtfully consider the master plan, it is clear the long term benefits 20 to 70 years down the road are evident.  

“We all want to chart a course for OSU to move into a position of national prominence,” Hargis said.  “When you consider OSU will undertake projects of more than $825 million in new academic, research, student life and athletic facilities in the coming years, one begins to realize how important it is to have master plan.”  

After last month’s community forums, OSU decided to present the five-year plan Friday and take the long-term, 20-year plan to the Regents in April or June to allow more time for discussion on various academic projects.

The plan presented and approved by the Regents today calls for the initiation of several new academic and student life facilities; all athletic projects, including development of the athletic village; four additional parking facilities; a campus irrigation system; the reopening of Hall of Fame Road; and the rerouting of Hester Street prior to construction of the west end zone of Boone Pickens Stadium.

“Although much attention has been given to the athletics portion of this expansion, more than 60 percent of the capital projects will include construction and improvements to academics, student life and infrastructure,” Schmidly said.

Of the $826.4 million in capital projects proposed in the plan, $316 million is designated for upgrading and expanding the university’s athletic facilities. Schmidly pointed out that over the past 40 years, OSU’s spending on athletic programs fell drastically behind that of other Division I universities nationwide.  From 1967 to 1999, OSU spent just $11.7 million dollars on athletic facilities.  

Most of the new athletic facilities will be built on a section of land north of the campus, requiring the acquisition of property.  Of 279 parcels, 61 have been purchased by the OSU Foundation or are under contract.  Dan Ferguson, who sold his home to the foundation said, “The give and take was as it should be and overall the (acquisition) process was just not that hard.” 

The plan will significantly impact both the university and the Stillwater community.

“OSU staff has shown a very willing attitude to work with the city regarding the implementation of the Master Plan,” said Stillwater City Manager Dan Galloway. “It is a large and complex project with many components affecting the city as well as the campus, but I have every reason to believe that it can be a smooth and cooperative process.”

The initial development period is expected to have an economic impact of $690 million in local spending and another $2 billion statewide. The Stillwater Chamber of Commerce board of directors has passed a resolution endorsing the OSU campus master plan. 

According to Stillwater Chamber President and CEO John Fowler, the expansion will mean new faculty positions and growth in enrollment. It will also attract additional research dollars and increase visitors to the city. 

“Along with growth of private industry taking place in the community, the university’s expansion will produce the most significant period of economic growth in Stillwater’s recent history,” Fowler said. “Just as a century ago, when Stillwater citizens gave the land and taxed themselves to build the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, we believe in the promise of a greater university for Oklahoma.”  

In related action, the Regents approved the hiring Studio Architecture of Oklahoma City to begin work on one of the key projects in the campus masters plan’s first five years, the $15 million renovation and expansion of the Donald W. Reynolds Architecture Building.

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