RSU To Improve Building Exteriors; Move Ahead With Construction of Economic Development Center

Rogers State University will improve the exteriors of its historic Preparatory Hall and Bushyhead Fieldhouse and move forward with the construction of a new building for the Center for Economic and Community Development on the Claremore campus.

Exterior renovations of Preparatory Hall and Bushyhead Fieldhouse were approved by the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, the governing board for RSU, at its meeting on Tuesday, June 22, in Lawton.

The regents approved awarding a contract in the amount of $271,681 to low-bidder Mid-Continental Restoration Company, Inc., of Fort Scott, Kan, for renovation of the historic buildings.  The project will include new paint and various repairs and renovations to improve the appearance of both facilities.

Preparatory Hall is the oldest building on the RSU campus, constructed in 1909 to serve as the Eastern Oklahoma Preparatory School. “Prep” Hall is the white domed building that serves as a campus icon, familiar to most area residents and visible throughout Claremore atop the university hill. It is listed on the National Registry of Historical Buildings. Prep Hall is the home of the RSU School of Liberal Arts and Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. It also contains faculty offices, classrooms, offices for various federally funded student support programs and the university’s computer and technology center.

Bushyhead Fieldhouse was constructed in 1929 and served as a gymnasium for the Oklahoma Military Academy, the predecessor institution of RSU. Today the fieldhouse provides space for student activities and contains a basketball gym, locker rooms and the Wellness Center, a fitness facility for students and faculty. Last year, portions of the interior of the fieldhouse were renovated and new windows were installed.

The regents also approved the architectural design for the new Center for Economic and Community Development building and authorized the university to advertise for construction bids for the project.

RSU established the center in July 2002 to support the university’s mission to foster regional economic development and address the educational needs of business and industry in northeastern Oklahoma.

The single-story building will have officer for economic development staff from RSU, the Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority and the Oklahoma Alliance for Manufacturing Excellence. The facility also will include flexible office and laboratory spaces for technology incubator clients, a classroom, two conference rooms and a small library.

The 7,200-square-foot facility will be located on RSU’s Claremore campus west of the rifle range. Funding for the project will be provided from a combination of appropriate funds, federal funds and private gifts. The facility is projected to cost about $650,000 with completion targeted for early 2005.

The regents previously approved the selection of LWPB Architects & Planners of Oklahoma City as the project’s architectural firm.