Major construction projects to begin this spring at Rogers State University will result in the absence of a public banquet hall and some minor delays for pedestrians and motorists on the Claremore campus for approximately 18 months.
This spring, the university will unveil plans for a Student Services Center, which will replace Post Hall and Thunderbird Hall (the former library building) with a new, single facility featuring offices for student services, public banquet halls, conference rooms, an enlarged bookstore, a food court with multiple dining options, catering services and meeting spaces for student activities and organizations.
“The appearance of the RSU campus will be significantly altered and improved in the next few years,” said RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley. “The upcoming construction projects may result in some temporary inconveniences for our students and faculty, but they will culminate in new state-of-the-art facilities that will support academic programs and enhance campus life.”
An architectural rending of the new Student Services Center will be unveiled to the public in April. Demolition of Post and Thunderbird Halls will begin in August. Groundbreaking for the new facility is anticipated this fall. As a result, Post Hall will not be available for public events such as banquets, weddings, conferences and meetings after July 31. Catering services also will be interrupted during this period.
The Student Services Center will be built in the current location of Post Hall and will feature an expanded public ballroom and banquet facility overlooking Douglas Lake and the city of Claremore, retaining the popular east view from Post Hall. When the facility is completed, the present Student Union and Bookstore will be demolished to allow for additional parking. An expanded parking lot also will be added in the present location of Thunderbird Hall.
Project architects determined that renovating Post and Thunderbird Halls would be cost-prohibitive and structurally unfeasible, resulting in the decision to combine the two buildings into a single, larger facility.
Cost estimates for the Student Services Center, which will be between 50,000 and 55,000 square feet, range from $6 million to $7 million. The construction will be funded through a combination of funds from the recent state higher education bond issue and private donations.
Also this spring, the Campus Public Safety Department will be relocated from Post Hall to the facility formerly occupied by the Center for Economic and Community Development in the northeast corner of the campus. The university’s printing facilities and mail room will move from Post Hall into a newly renovated Pershing Hall (formerly the Rifle Range.)
In April, work will begin on a new geothermal energy system that will heat and cool the air in Preparatory, Meyer and Baird Halls and the Will Rogers Auditorium, resulting in the digging of trenches in various locations across campus and the drilling of up to 200 wells to tap into thermal energy below the ground in the areas near the main campus entrance, east of Preparatory Hall and around the athletic field. Pedestrians and motorists may be rerouted at various times during this process. In addition, summer classes will not be scheduled in Preparatory and Baird Halls.
Later this year, the facilities of the Bit by Bit Therapeutic Horse Riding Program will be moved to the new RSU Equestrian Center located on U.S. Highway 169 south of Oologah. The new equestrian center will be paid for with private funds through a $2.2 million fundraising campaign being conducted by the RSU Foundation. All horse facilities will be removed from the Claremore campus and a new northwest campus entrance will be constructed on Blue Starr Drive.
Early in 2007, the university will embark on a major renovation and expansion of Baird Hall, which also will be funded by the recent higher education bond issue. The new Baird Hall will provide a significant amount of additional space for classrooms, learning laboratories and faculty offices, allowing for the continued growth of academic programs and availability of new bachelor’s degrees.
In addition, work on the campus beautification project will begin next year. The project, which includes new sidewalks, lighting and landscaping across campus, will feature a new central campus promenade linking the new Student Services Center with the Stratton Taylor Library. The project also will feature new signage at the main entrances of the campus.
Questions about scheduling events in Post Hall may be directed to Chuck Lucia, RSU food services manager, at (918) 343-7843.