NEO's Renovated Carter Student Union Unveiled
Members of the NEO student body, faculty and staff as well as members of the Carter family recently participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Bruce G. Carter Student Union.
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College recently celebrated the completion of the $9.4 million renovation of its Bruce G. Carter Student Union.
The Student Body Government, in 2009, approved doubling student fees, to $11 per credit hour, to pay for the renovation.
President Jeff Hale said his non-academic reaction when he walks into the renovated building is: ”Wow.”He said the building looks nothing like it did before.
The student union opened on Feb. 22, 1960, at a cost of $337,565. It is named for the college’s president from 1943-69. Carter, the college’s 10th president, added 18 buildings to the five-building campus that was there when he began. Carter’s son, John Carter, and other members of the family were present for the rededication.
The renovated building had ample natural light in the commons area.
“If you’ve got sunglasses, I would encourage you to get those out,” Hale told the crowd gathered for the building dedication.
There also are mosaics at the center of the commons area by artist Jacqueline Iskander. A mural by Nicholas Calcagno from the building couldn’t be salvaged, but a digital photo of the mural was used to reproduce it on glass panels in the commons area.
Other changes to the 40,000-square-foot building include a dining hall and cafeteria, renovated restrooms, a modern ballroom, conference areas and a bookstore.
Hale said when he started as president, members of the student government were frank with him.
“They essentially told me in no uncertain terms: ‘Fix some things,’” he said. He said they listed the dorms and the student union. He said he told them he could handle the housing situation, but he needed their help to renovate the student union. Hale said in 2009, NEO was the only educational institution in the state to raise student fees.
The board of regents for Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges approved the fee increase requested by the students and Hale. Regents Chairman Jay Helm was on hand Friday.
“How exciting times are here at NEO A&M,” he said.
Hale said the project was the result of the work of hundreds of people.