Q&A - October 18, 2015

I believe that an organization that fails to plan is an organization that plans to fail. My responsibility as president of OSUIT is to lead this institution into successful endeavors, and I have always chosen to do this proactively—through a strategic planning process using internal input from across the institution and through a master planning process managed by outside experts.

Together, these plans create a collective vision for OSUIT in how we organize and expend valuable public resources. To be truly accountable, it is imperative to have a published set of plans that influence the major decisions of the institution and to follow these plans as resources are available. Both the OSUIT Strategic Plan and Campus Master Plan are accessible through our university website: www.osuit.edu.

In today’s column, let me “connect the dots” for you between plans that we have for the campus and the downtown student housing project.

Q: How do your downtown buildings fit into the Master Plan that was created a couple of years ago?

The OSUIT Campus Master Plan that was produced by the Tulsa-based Dewberry architectural firm is not just an imaginative rendering of how the campus might appear in the future, it is a well-researched guidebook for the development of campus facilities. It provides guidance on buildings, grounds, roadways, parking lots, sidewalks, etc. It sets standards for architectural style; brick selections; paint colors; type of street lights, benches, trash cans, fences; etc. It speaks futuristically about such things as instructional demands, square footage requirements, safety protocols, and environmental impacts. Also, it influences the prioritization and order of certain campus projects. Above all, it allows the administration of OSUIT to make decisions today that will be the right decisions long-term. For instance, if we plant a tree or pour a sidewalk on campus, we want to know that it is in the right place and won’t be in the way of a future building site.

Our plan is an ambitious one and calls for many existing buildings to be replaced over time and for many new structures to be added to complete an overall campus design. It is sometimes referred to as a 25 year plan, not because we expect to complete everything in 25 years, but because the plan itself has a shelf life of approximately 25 years. By then, it will be time to revisit the Campus Master Plan and update it. Whether this visionary long-term plan is realized in 25 years or 125 years will depend on access to resources.

The plan revealed that one of the most pressing facility needs at OSUIT is for additional student housing. The growth in many of our academic programs is restricted by the limited number of beds available to students within Okmulgee. So, our purchase of historic buildings in downtown Okmulgee, with the intent to renovate them into additional student housing, is absolutely in keeping with the finding of the Campus Master Plan.

Excellent question this week. Please continue to send your questions or comments about OSUIT or the downtown Okmulgee project to osuit-president@okstate.edu.