College moves to Oklahoma City campus


Construction on four academic buildings (the four now around the fountain on the mall), a cafeteria, and two dorms was moving ahead well as 1958 began. The four academic buildings were near completion. When the school year ended in June in Bartlesville, the transition to the new campus began.

Those faculty and staff members who were moving found places to live and a temporary office was set up in an Oklahoma City school building that was available over the summer. As soon as the four buildings were available, what could be moved from the Bartlesville campus was carried to Oklahoma City, primarily with many trips in a one-ton pickup.

While President James O. Baird and Academic Dean Stafford North were planning for the start of the new school year and purchasing tables, chairs, desks, science equipment, cafeteria equipment, and dorm furniture, Clarence Buller, director of maintenance, was making trips in the pickup. The pickup moved 2,000 library books, office furniture, and some classroom and dorm furniture. Because the school was moving into new buildings, officials wanted most of the furnishings to be new.

About mid-summer, school officials were able to move into their offices in Benson Hall. Parking lots, however, had not been paved and sidewalks were not yet poured. And, of course, there was no grass or landscaping yet. So, when it rained, those coming to the campus often had to take off their shoes and socks in their cars, wade ankle-deep in mud to the building, then go to the restroom and clean up.

During the summer, it became apparent that the buildings would not be ready by early September. So the opening date of school was postponed until late September. It was also apparent that the dorms would not be ready until January. So school officials began to search for alternate housing for the first term. Arrangements were made for most of the female students to stay in a motel on Kelley Avenue and for the males and some females to be situated in homes.

As opening day finally arrived, the academic buildings were in good condition. The cafeteria was not quite complete and students had to be served for a few days with cold meals on paper plates. Students were scattered around Edmond and north Oklahoma City for housing. But the beginning was made, and the start of classes on September 22, 1958, marked the start of a new era for the college.