Q&A - January 29, 2016

I know there has not been much physical evidence of renovations occurring on the downtown properties purchased by OSUIT last spring, but let me assure you, a great deal of work has taken place behind the scenes. These are grand buildings, and giving them the respect they are due requires much planning and forethought.

Q: What are the latest developments with the OSUIT downtown student housing project?

During their regular January business meeting, the OSU Board of Regents took official action to grant OSUIT permission to officially move from the schematic design phase to the construction design phase on our downtown student housing project on the northeast corner of Grand Avenue and 6th Street in Okmulgee. This means the Board is satisfied with the preliminary drawings and construction estimates produced by the professional project design team led by KSQ Architectural Firm of Tulsa. Other members of the team include: SAA Architectural Firm of Tulsa, CYNTERGY Engineering of Tulsa, Oakridge Builders of Tulsa, Ron Drake Consulting of Siloam Springs, OSU Long Range Planning of Stillwater, and OSUIT.

The team has been meeting for over six months, conducting all necessary pre-construction research and settling on essential design elements. The work that they have produced is stunning in both form and function. The Old Post Office student housing complex will be a beautiful blending of historic charm and modern comforts. It will feature 11 two-story lofts and 26 flats. Each loft and flat apartment will provide housing for two students, with a shared living/dining area, kitchen, bathroom, and two single bedrooms. The building will accommodate persons with disabilities, with a modern elevator, ramps, and ADA accessible flats on each floor. It will receive all new windows, electrical, plumbing, central heat and air, sprinklers and other safety systems, a new roof, and much more.

There will be an onsite manager’s apartment and office, plus loads of amenities. Common areas will include a grand entryway with formal stairs, a large lobby with comfortable seating for TV and games, a street level patio with outdoor seating, a lounge area for group dining, a group kitchen, and a fully equipped laundry, not to mention small group study areas. Our plans also include new sidewalks and a lot of new parking.

While the building will be receiving a major facelift, our intentions are to retain as many of the original materials and surfaces as we can in order to allow the building to maintain its dignity and historic appeal. To top it off, we will commission a new mural with a vintage feel to be applied to the exterior east facing wall. When we are done with this property makeover, it will be a real “showstopper” for downtown Okmulgee.

Our construction timeline calls for demo work to begin this spring with renovation and construction to run through the summer of 2017. We plan to have the building ready to house 74 OSUIT students by the beginning of the fall term 2017.

Thank you all for your continued interest in the exciting things happening in downtown Okmulgee. Please email more of your questions to me at osuit-president@okstate.edu.