Northern Oklahoma College to Invest in New Residential Housing Projects
Northern Oklahoma College is developing plans for a new residential housing project to create improved housing options for student populations on the Tonkawa and Enid campuses.
Housing emerged as the number one need and priority last year as a result of Northern’s year-long strategic planning process. During the town hall meetings, stakeholders emphasized the need for new housing on both campuses. Two of the six strategic priorities that developed after those discussions were to enhance the quality of life for students and upgrade facilities for quality and efficiency to enhance the student experience. Additionally, student residential housing is NOC’s priority #1 and #2 on the campus master plan.
Over this past year, a Housing Task Force Committee was formed and is chaired by Jason Johnson, NOC vice president for student affairs. Members of the Northern Oklahoma College board of regents and NOC administration toured new student residential housing in the state to assess various design models.
In November, the NOC regents approved the process of architect selection and the solicitation process for a feasibility study and site selection. Northern submitted a $10 million project proposal to the Oklahoma State Regents Real Property Master Lease Program for new student residential housing.
The master lease funding was approved by the Bond Council in December. The college engaged Frankfurt-Short-Bruza Associates P.C. (FSB) as the architectural firm to design new construction up to $5 million each on the Tonkawa and Enid campuses to improve the student living experience.
The design process is underway, and the architects will engage students and employees to determine the best layout and plans for the dorms.The new facilities are expected to be ready for students to move in for the fall 2015 semester.
During the Jan. 27 NOC board of regents meeting, the findings of a residential housing feasibility study were presented to the regents.
“Conceptual in nature looking at each campus, the purpose of this study is to develop a student housing program and feasibility study for the future design and construction of a new residence hall facility with amenities which are competitive with other colleges,” Greg Ward, AIA, senior principal and president, Cyntergy AEC LLC, said during the January NOC board of regents meeting when he presented the feasibility study findings.
Commenting on the feasibility study presented at the meeting, NOC board of regents Chair Lynn Smith said, “Very interesting concept with many opportunities for expansion and growth. A lot of good useful information in the feasibility study.”
The study by Cyntergy identified the best locations for the new housing on the Tonkawa and Enid campuses. Ward said, “Selecting the site in front of the Earl Butts Residence Halls on the Enid campus allows for a unique way to re-energize the existing housing and is the most practical site.”
In Tonkawa, the location recommended is on the east side of Pine Street, just south of the A.D. Buck History Museum and Welcome Center located on the northeast side of the campus. Ward said, “This site has strong ties to the rest of the campus and provides easy access to the current dining facilities as well as academic and athletic buildings. This is the most attractive site for a new residence hall.”
NOC President Cheryl Evans stated, “The college is very pleased that we can address one of the biggest needs in our strategic plan. The newest housing currently available to NOC students was constructed in the 1960s, so we are thrilled that we can move forward with these plans to provide upgraded housing options with desired amenities for our students. In addition, the communities we serve are experiencing housing shortages, so we hope that these additional rooms for students will help alleviate a portion of those issues as well.”