NOVEMBER 12, 2008

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Several Construction Projects in Progress at OSUIT

Photo of Seebeck and Martin, overlooking construction at OSU IT.
Bob Seebeck and Jana Martin look at one of several trenches holding pipes that route water through the new Rural Health Science Center building’s geothermal heating and cooling system.

More quality nurses – skilled high voltage and natural gas compression technicians – and a friendlier, inviting feeling all around. That’s the purpose of four significant construction projects underway on the campus of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology. A new Rural Health Science Center is already framed against the skyline, with freshly poured flooring. Two new storage buildings – when finished -- will house valuable technical equipment for the High Voltage Technologies and Natural Gas Compression Technologies programs, and the first step has been taken to launch the Campus Landscaping project to create an inviting Pedestrian Mall project between the Grady Clack Student Services Center, the Library and the Student Union.

The Rural Health Science Center is a $5.2 million, 23,000-square-foot facility. Housing the nursing program here will allow the college to more than double the number of registered nurses it graduates.

President Bob Klabenes says the building, located on the west side of the campus, provides an excellent opportunity for OSU Institute of Technology to meet the extremely high demands for rural RNs. “This is critical to the redevelopment of rural Oklahoma, and that is the focus of this program. We have a significant waiting list and the new Rural Health Science and Technology Center will allow us to enroll at least twice as many students as we have now.”

The new building will feature classrooms, faculty offices, simulated labs including a maternal and child lab, intensive and critical care lab, medical surgical lab, and a basic skills lab. Nabholz Construction of Tulsa has the contract and John Sanford is the architect; the facility is scheduled to open in July 2009.

Nursing Administrator Jana Martin says students admitted in May 2009 along with the sophomore class will be moving into the center after its completion this summer. “We have been given an incredible opportunity here to have a state-of-the-art nursing facility with the construction of this building. This will serve our nursing students for many years to come.”

According to Bob Seebeck, director of OSUIT’s Physical Plant Services, the Rural Health Science Center is the first geothermal building in the OSU System. “We put in approximately 49 wells about 400 ft. deep each and those wells provide heating and cooling for the building itself,” said Seebeck. “It’s a closed loop system that pumps water into the ground and back up through a series of pumps. The heat transfer is used to heat and cool the building. It is pretty simple.”

Storage is always a challenge for a university that receives millions of dollars in industry-donated technology each year to facilitate hands-on learning. Two programs are getting some much needed help in storing these gifts and loaned equipment. The Natural Gas Compression Technologies Storage Building is a $133,000 project that will provide 4,800 square feet of space. Brewer Construction is the contractor.

Charlie Whitley, faculty in the Natural Gas Compression Technologies program in OSUIT’s Heavy Equipment and Vehicle Institute, says a large number of companies are more than willing to donate and loan materials in their effort to increase the number of qualified, skilled technicians. “Some of the compression engines we receive are the size of a delivery truck. The storage facility will help us rotate machines and technology to match the curriculum. And, providing more space creates a much safer, more enjoyable learning environment.”

The High Voltage Technologies Storage Building is also a 4,800-square-foot, $133,000 project that helps the faculty secure a variety of power company equipment such as transformers, cables, switchgear, protection equipment and earthing systems.

Gene Nunn, faculty in OSUIT’s construction technology division, says with the increasing demand for high voltage technicians, there is also a demand for employees who can work with a wide variety of systems, equipment and technology. “We have a student who’s working for a company up north that uses a helicopter to transport technicians from pole to pole. So, in between dangling from a helicopter and climbing a pole in someone’s backyard, there are a lot of things to learn. The more industry-donated equipment we have, the better job we’ll do preparing our students for anything. It will be great having a place to store all the equipment companies want to give us.”

Construction is now under way on OSUIT’s campus landscaping project, which will include a Pedestrian Mall, is a $900,000 project that will create a beautiful walkway and gathering area between the Grady Clack Center for Student Services, the Learning Resource Center and the Student Union. Nabholz Construction Company is also the contractor for this project, as well as for the Rural Health Science Center. The Sam Viersen Family Foundation Inc. was a major donor for this project.

According to OSUIT President Bob Klabenes, research literature indicates the first impression of a college campus is vital to recruiting and retaining students and is a significant marketing tool for parents. “We think this combination of landscaping and creation of a pedestrian mall will make an extremely positive impression on prospective students and their parents.”

With all the construction crews on the campus, Seebeck says there has to be a positive impact on the Okmulgee community. “We have two different construction companies that are working almost continually. I’m sure a lot of the workers are staying in town and adding to the economy here in Okmulgee.”

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology offers high-quality technical training in more than 20 technical professions, planned and guided with the support of leading companies, industries, and high technology firms. As a result, students learn the latest technical advances that meet the demanding needs of employers.

For more information call 918.293.4680 or 1.800.722.4471. Information also is available online at www.osuit.edu.