OCU Builds to the Future: University Marks Centennial with $50 Million Expansion

By Currin, Darren | THE JOURNAL RECORD, July 28, 2003 | Go to article overview

OCU Builds to the Future: University Marks Centennial with $50 Million Expansion


Currin, Darren, THE JOURNAL RECORD


As Oklahoma City University prepares to enter into its 100th year in 2004, the university is undergoing an extensive capital improvements program designed to foster student growth.

Under the program, the university is in the process of constructing two new buildings and extensively renovating two existing facilities on campus. At a total estimated cost of around $50 million, the expansion marks one of the largest in OCU's history.

According to Mary Coffey, vice president of administration and finance for the university, one of the largest projects underway is the construction of a new $16 million school of business building. The 82,207-square-foot facility will house OCU's entire Meinders School of Business, which will be relocating from its current home in the Noble Center for Competitive Enterprise building.

We are scheduled for a mid-December completion, said Coffey. We will be moving into that building the last week of December with the intent of holding our spring classes in the building.

Coffey noted that the building also will feature more than $1.5 million in technology including high speed internet access, state- of-the-art audio and visual communications, online financial reporting, television camera and live television sets to monitor financial reports. The building will house a 232-seat auditorium.

It also being determined if a portion of that building can be totally wireless, she added.

Furthermore, the new Meinders facility will allow OCU to move some of its off-campus adult masters programs back to the campus.

Of the four building projects, the largest is the $31 million Wanda Bass School of Music building. The 107,000-square-foot building will house all of OCU's various music programs.

According to Coffey, site utility and relocation work already has commenced on the project. The building is slated for completion in the spring of 2005.

Coffey promises the facility will be one of the finest music educational buildings in the state, featuring walls that are six inches to eight inches thick and 10-inch thick floor slabs allowing for optimal sound acoustics for students. The building's mechanical systems will be maintained at an off-site location in order to reduce any vibration or noise in the facility that might affect acoustics.

The acoustical properties of that facility are probably among the most important aspects of the construction, explained Coffey. We have visited several music schools across the United States and consulted with them as to what their acoustical engineers did best or did not do well.

In addition to housing classrooms, practice rooms, studios, listening labs, vocal labs and computer labs, the new facility will be home to the university's collection of 133 Steinway pianos that were donated by Wanda Bass, chairman of First National Bank and Trust Co. of McAlester, in 2002.

The remaining two projects are renovations to two existing campus facilities. The first is the $1.3 million renovation and expansion of the university's admissions and visitors facility. OCU purchased the 10,000-square-foot building from the Oklahoma City Conference of the United Methodist Church and is adding a 5,000-square-foot third floor to the building.

We have all of our admissions offices in three different locations, so this will bring them all in one facility and also house our office of institutional advancement, said Coffey. …

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