Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oral Roberts University in Tulsa Polishes Its Golden Sheen

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oral Roberts University in Tulsa Polishes Its Golden Sheen

Article excerpt

More than $12 million in ongoing construction projects is rejuvenating Oral Roberts University.

Renovation and landscaping projects will touch almost every part of the campus under a $10 million gift by the family of Mardel retail chain Mart Green, quietly bringing their ORU donations to more than $109 million over the last two years.

In a separate development, the ORU Athletic Department will open a 35,000-square-foot indoor baseball practice facility in September. Contractor on that $1.3 million-plus project is the real-estate arm of Hobby Lobby Stores, the Oklahoma City retail chain owned by Mart's father, David.

The city of Tulsa brought a highly visible third construction element this summer with work to reinforce the banks of Fred Creek, which separates the campus from the Mabee Center.

ORU will embrace that effort by replacing its white landscape railing throughout the campus with black iron elements matching what the city will install along the waterway.

"Almost every building on campus is getting some touch-up," new ORU President Mark Rutland said of the renovation program, which extends a $10.4 million effort last year.

He foresees another $10 million round next year as the south Tulsa Christian liberal arts university catches up with its structural maintenance backlog.

But the summer of 2009 may go down as when ORU's golden sheen regained its luster.

"Last year was important," Rutland said of a rebuilding campaign focused on infrastructure needs. "We had to do it, and it made a big difference. But you don't pull up to a building and say, 'Wow, what great wiring!'"

While improvements this year still include structural needs, such as a new Mabee Center roof, Rutland said ORU focused on many cosmetic and functional elements this year, from new flooring and furniture in the student dormitories to new furniture and tables in the kitchens and modernized laboratories. …

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