By Yesenia Gonzalez
Image courtesy of Beck Design
Rose State’s Student Center will undergo major construction soon. Since 2011, a $22 million bond issue has covered the costs of renovating bathrooms, 11 buildings on campus and the Learning Resources Center. However, the upcoming renovation is not part of the same bond issue that Mid-Del voters approved in 2011; rather, it is part of a master lease program from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. According to Senior Director for Renovations Richard Andrews, the multimillion-dollar project is tentatively scheduled to begin in August, once the old building is removed.
“I think there [are] a lot of changes that students and faculty will see,” Andrews said. “One of the emphases on the new building will be a one-stop shop. And we’re bringing enrollment, student engagement, student advisement all under one roof. So a student can come in and talk to the adviser, get enrolled, go into Student Services Building and get their financial aid. They can go across the hall in the building and get their books, and then they can buy a hot dog and a Coke while they’re here. So it’s really, truly a one-stop shop.”
Vice President for Administrative Services Dr. Kent Lashley said the State Regents master lease program is different from the bond issue passed in 2011, because the master lease program pools the projects of multiple college campuses together to maximize the bond funds, rather than Rose State requesting a bond issue by itself. Over time, the school’s capital fund and student facility fees will pay back the cost of the bonds allocated to Rose State for the new Student Union. According to Andrews, the master lease program allotted $18 million for the renovation but the actual cost for the building cannot be determined until the project is bid.
The Student Union is currently being emptied and renovations are to follow in the near future. Members of the surrounding community often used the building’s conference rooms and banquet hall, which will be included in the renovation of the Student Center. The new Student Union building will have two stories, with the upper floor including a 400-seat ballroom and many conference rooms for community use.
“So the community, we hope, will be coming back to us,” said Tamara Pratt, Vice President for External Affairs and Marketing, expressing her thoughts on the upcoming project. “They’ll be a little inconvenienced right now while we don’t have much space for the community, but it’s gonna be really great and beautiful when they’re finally done ... and we’ll have these two beautiful bookends for the campus. The east and the west side, the LRC on the east side and the new Student Union on the west side.”
Rose State first opened for class in 1970. In recent years, the school has undergone various construction projects aimed at modernizing the campus, such as renovating the restrooms to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations. LED-efficient lighting, new floors, new paint and upgrades to the interiors of classrooms are other evident changes to the campus.
“If you’ve seen the progression that we’ve taken from Rose State College over the last couple of years, everything that we have been trying to do is to be about fostering this community,” Daniel Beck, Rose State director of marketing, said. “I mean, going back to when we built the housing, building an on-campus community for students to be able to engage with Rose State in a way that had never been done before [makes Rose State the] only urban community college in Oklahoma that has on-campus housing. Then, with the new LRC, bringing in the addition of a cafe [fostered a sense of community]. Trying to build this community [is the goal], and so the Student Union is just the next step of that and just trying to [showcase] what makes it ‘Greater to be a Raider.’”
The renovations across campus bear testament to a new era at Rose State. The Student Union will continue to be a gathering place for students and the Mid-Del community; the only difference is an upgrade to its design.
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