OCTOBER 17, 2008

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Ceremony Proclaims Two Historical Occasions

Photo of OPSU's Science and Ag Building.
OPSU's new Science and Agriculture Building opened in August 2008.

Groundbreaking for a new academic building marked a historic day on the campus of Oklahoma Panhandle State University two years ago. The new Science and Agriculture Building has been completed and it opened in August for students taking courses offered by OPSU’s School of Agriculture and School of Science, Mathematics, and Nursing. On Saturday, October 25, a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held in conjunction with Aggie Football Homecoming and the event will also officially launch OPSU’s Centennial celebration. The schedule of the day’s activities:
9:45 a.m. - Parade featuring the theme “Back to the Future”
10:45 a.m. - Dedication Ceremony and Ribbon Cutting
11:30 a.m. - Annual Free Panhandle Association of Alumni and Friends Barbecue
1:00 p.m. - Kick-off, Aggies vs. Bacone, Carl Wooten Stadium

Construction of the 30,000 square-foot, two-story building was made possible by the $500 million bond issue passed by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2005 that targeted infrastructure improvements on college campuses statewide. OPSU’s share, $6.7 million, was boosted by support from the Noble Foundation’s $500,000 Challenge Grant. The organization matched the funds OPSU raised to equip the building, resulting in an additional $1 million in funding. Many generous donations from alumni, businesses, and friends of the University also helped make the new facility possible.

The building marks the beginning of a new era at OPSU. The state-of-the-art educational structure also incorporates two laboratories that will be used to provide service to the community. The Murphy-Brown LLC Water Quality Testing lab will benefit local municipalities, school districts, the agricultural sector and other entities that require water testing on a regular basis. The Chemistry/Feed Analysis lab will provide service to the agricultural sector. Because Texas County produces more beef and pork than any other county in Oklahoma, the lab will furnish a convenient, essential service to area producers.
In addition, U.S. Congressman Frank Lucas secured $95,305 for the Murphy-Brown LLC Water Quality Testing Laboratory.

The one-time congressionally directed grant will be used to purchase equipment that will allow the lab to meet State of Oklahoma standards for testing water samples. Last fall, Murphy-Brown pledged $100,000 to help fund the lab. The equipment will also allow the lab to meet National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation. NELAC certification will permit OPSU to test water from any state which in turn will make water quality testing easier for those in the four states surrounding the University. John Koehn has been hired as Director and Deborah L. Gaddis-Ask has been hired as Supervisor/Analyst. The pair both began work on October 1, and Koehn will also serve OPSU as Instructor of Chemistry. The employment of professional staff for the lab completes another step in the opening of the service lab planned for the summer of 2009.

The Dedication Ceremony also begins the official OPSU Centennial Celebrations, and those attending the festivities will notice visible changes such as the Centennial banners mounted on poles around campus. Many activities are planned throughout the coming two years to commemorate the 100-year-old institution’s educational service.