MAY 16, 2007

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Eastern breaks ground on first new building in almost 40 years

Photo of Chancellor Johnson and President Smith with ceremonial shovels.
Oklahoma Higher Education Chancellor Glen Johnson and Southeastern President Stephen Smith prepare for the groundbreaking at the SOSU campus.

A crowd of more than 150 people gathered on the front lawn of Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton on May 4, as the community college celebrated the groundbreaking of its new $7.1 million Student Life and Learning Center.

“At Eastern Oklahoma State College, students are the top priority,” Oklahoma Chancellor of Higher Education Dr. Glen D. Johnson said at the ceremony. “It is very important that we have facilities that are attractive to students. This Student Life and Learning Center will be where campus life intersects.”

Johnson, along with Eastern President Stephen E. Smith, State Sen. Richard Lerblance (D-Hartshorne), Rep. Ed Cannady, (D-Porum) and Eastern Chairperson Burl Williams spoke to supporters about the importance of higher education in Oklahoma.

“We owe it to the students of the state of Oklahoma to provide a quality and affordable education,” Lerblance said. “This is a godsend, and it is truly deserved, needed and appreciated.”

The two-story, 36,500 square-foot facility will be the first new building on Wilburton’s campus in more than 40 years. Financing for the facility is part of the 2005 state higher education bond issue.

The new center will host a number of facilities including a cyber café, expanded book store, student lounge and cafeteria, a ballroom, classrooms and counseling center, student government offices and meeting room and Dean of Student’s office.

The new building will be located on what is now the main parking lot in the center of campus and elevated almost six feet above the current parking grade. When construction begins, most of what is now the campus central area, south of the plaza clock-tower area, will be fenced off and closed for construction.

“There are a lot of memories in the old E.T. Dunlap Student Union, but it’s the dawn of a new day” President Smith said. “It’s all about focusing on the students. It’s not just about us – it’s also about our community.”

Opening for the Life and Learning Center is slated for June 2008.

Contact: Hank Mooney, EOSC, (918) 465-1804