Groundbreaking ceremony for OKC campus
The Board of Trustees for Central Christian College, with the encouragement of President James O. Baird, made the decision to move from Bartlesville to Oklahoma City in 1956. Then came the job of locating a new campus and raising money to purchase the land and build buildings.
One of the reasons the board had chosen Oklahoma City was that the community leadership in Oklahoma City had shown considerable interest in having the school move to their city and had promised support to purchase the land.
Under the leadership of Mr. E.K. Gaylord, publisher of the Daily Oklahoman, a local committee had explored a number of sites and finally had recommend a 200-acre location near the corner of Eastern and Memorial Road. Although this location was 11 miles from downtown Oklahoma City, it was on well-known city streets and, since the area around it for several miles was open space, there would be the opportunity to build a new “community” around the campus. The cost was $500 an acre, which brought the total price to $100,000.
Next, the board engaged nationally-recognized campus architects Caudill, Rowlett and Scott to work on the campus layout. They developed a “zoned” system for the campus with a living zone on the west, an academic zone on the east, and a service zone of cafeteria, library, and gym in between. Then came the task of designing seven builldings for a beginning - four academic buildings, a cafeteria, and two dormitories.
With this done, it was time for groundbreaking. When the date of the first groundbreaking came on May 11, 1957, it was raining so hard that it had to be postponed. When the second date came on May 25, it was raining so hard that the groundbreaking could not be held on the new campus, but in an alternate location.
So the actual groundbreaking for the new 200-acre campus at Eastern and Memorial Road was held right in the center of Oklahoma City in the Municipal Auditorium. Complete with shovels and buckets of dirt, the earth was turned to mark the beginning of the construction on the new campus.