Oklahoma Christian University officially dedicated its newest and most advanced student housing. Guest speakers included longtime Oklahoma City Chamber president Paul Strasbaugh, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree from OC, and Hardy Watkins, president of the Edmond Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re extremely proud of our new student housing,” OC president Mike E. O’Neal said. “Approximately 80 percent of our undergraduate students live on campus, and the university’s mission calls for a holistic educational experience both in and out of the classroom. Quality housing has been a top priority for several years. Oklahoma Christian has always provided its students a rich learning environment, but these new facilities incorporate state-of-the-art features and compete with the very best student housing nationwide.”
The two new student residences, called University House, are part of the school’s $34 million housing construction and remodeling project and provide 98 new beds for sophomore women and 108 new beds for sophomore men. The total cost of this phase of the project is $9.5 million. The construction and development have been managed by the Trammell Crow Company, and the general contractor for the University House is DalMac Construction.
Located at the west end of the university’s residential mall, the new halls are joined with a three-story commons facility. The commons area provides a generous grand lobby area to host school functions, a student activity area, food service area, private and group study rooms, meditation/prayer rooms, a guest room, and lobbies that look out through large glass walls.
The residence halls are three stories and have both single and double room suite-style rooms, private bathrooms in each suite, and a common living area. The first floor of each residence hall has a fitness center. The second and third floors of each residence hall have a private TV lounge. There are Laundromat facilities on all three floors of each residence hall. A new central mechanical plant will enable heating and cooling control in individual rooms.
Each room in these “smart residences” will have wired and wireless access to the university network, email and the internet. Even the new Laundromats are “smart systems” with a new feature called LaundryView. This feature enables the washers and dryers to email students over the campus WiFi Network when their cycle is finished or when a machine is available.
The project dramatically changes the campus landscape, enhancing the aesthetic quality of OC’s on-campus housing and the university grounds in general. The design for the new residence halls, created by RBA Associates, serves as the architectural capstone on the west end of the campus, featuring a 52-foot tower and a covered entrance with a two-story atrium over the reception area.
The University House Commons building also includes a 40-seat seminar room allowing the University House to become a Living Learning Center. This room includes state-of-the-art audio, video, internet and presentation capabilities. Faculty members will host classes and study sessions in this new facility, and the university plans to host conferences here beginning next summer.