Q&A - January 15, 2016

Every day, the future gets just a little closer. That is why OSUIT continues to make and implement long-range plans. We are continually making improvements and enhancements for students who will attend here decades from now.

This year, we will see progress in several areas. Dozens of white oak trees have been planted that should gracefully adorn the Okmulgee campus for the next 200 years or so. New landscaping and an irrigation system will be installed in the Pistol Pete Plaza to improve how we greet visitors to campus. A number of renovation projects are scheduled across campus to maintain and improve facilities. This summer, major reconstruction of the downtown Old Post Office Complex will begin in earnest to ensure students can begin moving in by August 2017.

At this time, I would like to revisit a topic of local interest in greater detail.

Q: When will the old buildings south of campus be removed?

I have mentioned in previous columns that OSUIT has purchased about twelve acres of land south of campus at the southeast corner of 4th Street and Mission Lane and approximately 24 acres north of campus at the northeast corner of Kennedy Road and Mission Lane. Each of these properties currently have derelict structures that will need to be removed for safety reasons and to free-up this acreage for future university use. South of campus, our plan is to improve this newly acquired property by removing the old buildings (everything from the Mission Lane Auto Building to the Speed Queen Laundromat) and installing new landscape features to augment the approach to campus. In doing this, we hope to have an unobstructed view of OSUIT as visitors approach from the direction of downtown Okmulgee.

North of campus, we have similar plans. Our intention is to clean up this property by clearing it of undergrowth and debris. All residential structures and outbuildings will also be removed from this acreage. Part of this land will become outdoor lab space for our growing Pipeline Integrity Technology program, and part of it could be used to serve the future expansion needs of our High Voltage program. The OSUIT Campus Master Plan also calls for some of this new land to complete our system of campus interior roads and possibly as a location of future buildings to house our maintenance division. So, to answer the question about when these old structures will be razed, my response is “right now.”

Bids were opened in November for the demolition of all identified buildings on the land recently purchased by OSUIT. The recommendation was made to award the bid to Scott Wallick & Company, LLC, of Okmulgee to do the work, and I am pleased to tell you that as this column is being written, work has begun to remove these old structures. Mission Lane will soon have a much more open and inviting view of campus as drivers approach from the north or the south.

Thank you for the question this week. Your questions and comments about OSUIT are important to me, so please continue to direct them to osuit-president@okstate.edu.