Baird Hall has long held a reliable yet unassuming presence at Rogers State University. For more than a half century, Baird provided a dependable place for learning, but was considered out of date and even drab by some.
However, at the beginning of the fall semester, an expanded and renovated Baird Hall reopened as another crown jewel on the RSU campus in Claremore.
The reopening occurred as RSU experienced another semester of record enrollment with more than 4,400 students.
“We were just bursting at the seams in terms of enrollment, so bringing this important facility back online came just in time,” said RSU President Dr. Larry Rice.
A dedication ceremony will be held for the new Baird Hall at 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20. The public is invited to attend.
The barely recognizable Baird Hall has doubled in size and contains many of the leading-edge features associated with higher learning today, including classrooms equipped with Smart Boards, a performance studio and an amphitheater-style outdoor classroom for learning outdoors on sunny days.
Baird Hall always provided a location for the university’s art gallery, and when the building reopened, it boasted a new gallery for RSU students and faculty artists, as well as visiting artists, to exhibit their work.
“We anticipated improvements to this building for a long time and couldn’t be happier with the result,” said Gary Moeller, art professor and one of the university’s longest-serving faculty members, who wore a tuxedo on the first day of classes held in the building.
The 57,000-square-foot building also is the new headquarters for four academic departments including the Department of Communications, Department of English and Humanities, Department of Fine Arts and Department of History and Political Science. The RSU/Cameron Education Program is also located in Baird Hall.
Those entering the main plaza entrance on the southeast corner of the building will be greeted by a six-foot-tall statue of Will Rogers, the area’s iconic folk hero.
The new Baird Hall also provides a new home for the university’s burgeoning Honors Program, with a special classroom, computer laboratory and conference room for advanced placement students.
And of course, the building is still a “work horse,” providing classrooms and faculty offices on the rapidly growing campus.
Funding for the $9.5 million expansion and renovation project includes $4 million in bonds from the Oklahoma Higher Education Promise of Excellence Act of 2005, $1 million in facility revenue bonds issued in 2007, $4 million through the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Master Lease Program in 2010, and $500,000 in private funding.
For more information on the dedication ceremony, call (918) 343-7773.