Building Boom Continues at OU-Tulsa Campus

GROUNDBREAKING PARTICIPANTS: OU-Tulsa President Ken Levit addresses the audience and introduces dignitaries at the OU-Tulsa Learning Center groundbreaking. Immediately behind Levit is an OU-Tulsa student representative. From right are Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry, OU President David Boren and Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor. The event took place April 14 at the campus, located at 41st Street and Yale Avenue.

GTR Newspapers photo

OU-Tulsa broke ground April 14 on a new 47,000 square foot learning center at 41st and Yale Avenue. The center will feature a lecture hall, study rooms, wireless computer access, and much more.

It was made possible by the passage of the Oklahoma state higher education bond issue along with generous gifts from the Schusterman and Perkins families.

A crowd of more than 250 people gathered to watch dignitaries wield crimson-tipped shovels to break ground for the $12.2 million Learning Center. With an OU band playing pep music in the background, students, faculty, alumni and legislators gathered for the ceremonies under a big white tent. Taking turns at the microphone singing praises about the center were OU-Tulsa President Ken Levit, two students, Gov. Brad Henry, Rep. Chris Benge, Mayor Kathy Taylor and OU President David Boren.
“What better way to spend our money than to establish programs to educate our children and give them opportunities to better their future,” said Benge, the head of the House Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Construction on the building is expected to start this summer and be finished by fall 2007.

A higher education bond issue, passed by the Legislature last year, along with donations from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Founders and Associates Inc. and the Diane and Lindsay Perkins family, will pay for OU-Tulsa’s first building dedicated to classrooms and meeting areas.
The building represents the state’s investment in OU-Tulsa—something the campus did not have when it opened in 1990, Levit said.

The new building will fall in line with a “virtual tidal wave of support from the Tulsa community,” Levit said, and mounting accomplishments by the university.

OU has an emerging early childhood program and diabetes research that Boren expects will be the center of excellence for the nation. OU has added 327 endowed faculty jobs in the past decade, and its research has a $1.5 billion impact on the state every year, Boren said.

Both Boren and Henry used the opportunity to praise newly elected Mayor Taylor and remind legislators of the need to fund education with the extra money brought into state coffers from the oil industry boom.

Updated 04-26-2006

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