Oklahoma State University celebrated Iba Hall’s grand reopening and 50th anniversary of housing residents with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 7, 2018.
OSU President Burns Hargis and First Cowgirl Ann Hargis, along with the OSU Board of Regents, attended the ribbon-cutting and opening after a year-long, $3 million renovation. The renovation was funded by the university while all design and construction work was done in-house, resulting in zero debt and consultant fees.
“It has been so exciting to breathe life back into one of our legacy halls,” said Dr. Leon McClinton Jr., director of Housing and Residential Life. “The residents are excited to be the first class to live in the newly renovated building, and they are enjoying many of the new features including the community kitchen and meditation room.”
Two Living and Learning Programs, options that allow students with similar interests to live together, were also added. Renovations to the resident floors included painting, resurfacing shelving and tile surfaces and installing carpet in common areas and laminated vinyl tile in each resident room. The community bathrooms received new fixtures, mirrors, partitions and privacy doors while all showers were resurfaced.
Henry Iba, former OSU Cowboy Basketball coach and the building’s namesake, is honored in the renovations with a floor-to-ceiling portrait in the entertainment zone. Skip Iba, nephew of Henry Iba, and members of the extended Iba family were on hand for the ceremony.
Updates to the building lobby include new storefronts, an open floor plan, stone and custom wallpaper, as well as overhead light fixtures spelling O-S-U. The former desk area was updated as an office space while the building elevators were modernized, both mechanically and aesthetically.
The most dramatic transformation is in the basement level with the creation of a large entertainment zone including a community kitchen, seating area with multiple large televisions, vending machines and a custom pool table and a large study space. Also, a meditation or thoughtfulness room were created to address the growing concern of university students’ mental health.
“This space celebrates the complete wellness of our residents,” said Shannon Baughman, associate director of housing and residential life operations. “Residents can use the space to meditate, practice yoga or just sit in silence to clear their minds. We hope to host classes and other wellness programs in cooperation with our partners across campus.”
The Department of Housing and Residential Life houses over 6,000 residents in 31 residence halls and 584 family and graduate student housing apartments.