March 2, 2011

MidAmerica Industrial Park and RSU Establish Partnership

MidAmerica Industrial Park sign

MidAmerica Industrial Park and Rogers State University have initiated a partnership to relocate the Pryor campus of RSU to the industrial park in an effort to develop a more highly educated workforce and enhance economic development of the region.

MidAmerica will provide 74 acres, fund the construction of a new building and enter into a long-term lease with RSU to establish the university campus at MidAmerica Industrial Park, pending approval of the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, the governing board for RSU.

"Our new partnership between MidAmerica and RSU is innovative and unique in Oklahoma and the nation," said Sanders Mitchell, MidAmerica administrator. "The presence of a university campus on the grounds of the park will enable us to retain existing employers and recruit more high-tech firms to the region."

Presently, Northeast Technology Centers and Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology operate branch campuses at the park. A university campus "would complete a potent combination of educational services," Mitchell said.

This spring, MidAmerica will select an architectural firm, consult with engineers and begin site and drainage surveys in preparation for the development of the new campus.

RSU faculty and staff will work closely with MidAmerica staff and architects to design a new campus building that includes high-technology classrooms, laboratories and a conference and training facilities for industries at the park.

The new RSU campus will be located just west of MidAmerica's administrative offices on Highway 69A.

"This partnership fits perfectly into the university's mission to provide a more highly educated workforce, enhance the economic development of the region and increase the quality of life for the residents of Mayes County and all of northeast Oklahoma," said Dr. Larry Rice, RSU president.

The new campus will be much larger than the university's present Pryor campus and will allow RSU to expand the number of degree programs and student services, Rice said.

"The campus will not only allow us to significantly expand higher educational opportunities for Mayes County residents," Rice said. "It also will provide us the capability to design courses tailored to the needs of existing and prospective employers at MidAmerica."

The partnership recently was approved by the MidAmerica Board of Trustees, and will be considered by the OU Board of Regents at its meeting on March 23 in Norman.

"The new campus will advance our mission of providing enhanced job opportunities at MidAmerica and attracting new employers and industries to the region," Mitchell said.

Construction on the new RSU facility is projected to begin later this year.

"Most of us understand that educational attainment and economic well-being are closely intertwined," Rice said. "The partnership between MidAmerica and RSU directly addresses educational and economic opportunities for Oklahomans. It's all about developing a better educated populace, increasing the number of available jobs and enhancing the quality of life for all of us."

Founded in 1961 in Pryor Creek, MidAmerica is Oklahoma's largest industrial park with 9,000 acres. The park has a 365-acre airport with a 5,000-foot runway, and its own water and wastewater treatment plants. The nation's largest rural industrial park, MidAmerica is owned and operated by a self-sustaining public trust established to enhance economic development efforts in Northeast Oklahoma. MidAmerica does not rely upon the support of state or federal tax monies. Over 80 firms are located within the park, including many divisions of Global and Fortune 500 companies. This year, the park is celebrating its 50th anniversary of service.