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OU Board of Regents to consider expansion, renovation project negotiations, appointment of Title IX coordinator

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Michael Cawley and Joe Harroz Regents

OU Regent Michael Cawley and OU President Joe Harroz at the OU Board of Regents meeting for the Sooners' move to the SEC on July 30.

The OU Board of Regents will consider agreements and fees for projects in the Physical Science Center, Native Nations Center and National Weather Center, appoint the university’s new Title IX coordinator and update the timeline for summer courses during its 3:30 p.m. meeting Thursday. 

The regents will negotiate the terms of an agreement and fee to renovate the Physical Science Center by $6 to $10 million using maintenance funds, according to the regents agenda. The project will include the refurbishing of selected laboratories and spaces, the replacement of air handling systems, replacement of the roof and the repairing and replacement of “failed” structural glass components. 

An interview committee was formed to assess potential firms for this project, including Assistant Director of Architectural and Engineering Services Brent Everett, Senior Construction Project Manager of Architectural and Engineering Services Sarah Zeinalpour, Director of Facilities Management Kyle McGehee and College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Kelvin White. 

Four firms out of 16 were selected and ranked from highest to lowest, including Studio Architecture, Miles & Associates, Rand Elliott Architects and Bockus Payne Architecture

The Native Nations Center is set to receive a 30,000 to 35,000 square foot addition, including faculty and staff office spaces, meeting areas, classrooms, a small library, exhibit space and a space to honor Oklahoma’s 39 federally-recognized sovereign nations. According to the agenda, the estimated total cost is $13.5 to $15.75 million, funded by the university and donor funds. 

A committee to evaluate architectural consultants for the project includes Interim Vice President of Operations Brian Holderread, Everett, Architectural and Engineering Services Architect Alan Morning, Assistant Vice President of Administration and Finance Robin Stroud, Associate Vice President of Facilities Management Matthew Rom, Vice Provost for Instruction and Student Success Mark Morvant and Interim Director of the Native Nations Center Brian Burkhart. 

The committee selected four firms out of 14 and ranked them from highest to lowest, including Architectural Design Group, Frankfurt Short Bruza Associates, KK&T Architects and 1Architecture

The regents will also negotiate the terms of an agreement and fee to expand the National Weather Center by 75,600 square feet on four levels. According to the agenda, the new location will include laboratories, work areas, office space and support space to meet the “growing needs” of university and government programs. 

A committee was formed to evaluate potential firms for the project, including Everett, Holderread, Stroud, Director of Facility Services Marissa Pierson, Associate Vice President of Operations Melany Dickens, Geography and Environmental Sustainability Chair Scott Greene and School of Meteorology Director Jens Redemann. 

Four firms were selected out of 11 and ranked from highest to lowest, including Frankfurt Short Bruza Associates, Miles Architecture, Beck Design and MA+ Architecture. Funding for the project is expected to come from university departments, lease agreements and bond proceeds.  

The regents will appoint Christine Taylor as OU’s institutional equity officer, equal opportunity officer and Title IX coordinator in the Office of Equal Opportunity following the resignation of Shaniqua Crawford Nov. 3. Crawford was initially hired in November 2020 following changes to the university’s Title IX regulations that adjusted the definition of sexual harassment and steps required in Title IX cases. 

Taylor served as the institutional equity and compliance director at Wichita State University for four years, where she created protocols to centralize Title IX reporting and implemented an investigation process, according to an email from OU President Joseph Harroz. She will receive an annualized rate of $187,000 for 12 months, beginning Dec. 6, according to the agenda. 

A search will reopen for the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, according to the agenda. The initial search began in December 2019 and was paused because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Janet Braun has served as the interim director, helping the museum reopen in August 2020 following the museum’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The regents are set to update the timeline for eight-week summer session course blocks by changing the semester’s beginning from the 2021 start date of June 14 to May 16, according to the agenda. The university’s four-week blocks will also increase from two offerings to three, allowing students to take classes from May 16 to June 10, June 13 to July 8 and July 11 to Aug. 5. 

Accounting student John Erickson, who died in October, will be awarded a posthumous bachelor’s degree in business administration. According to the agenda, Erikson completed 116 hours and was set to complete his degree at the end of the fall semester. Dean of the Price College of Business Corey Phelps, Senior Vice President and Provost André-Denis Wright and accounting faculty requested the award. 

The meeting will be held in the OU Health and Sciences Robert M. Bird Library. Executive sessions will occur at 11 a.m., Dec. 2 and 8 a.m., Dec. 3 in the Provost’s Conference Room. 

News managing editor

Jillian Taylor is a journalism junior and news managing editor at The Daily. Previously, she served as a summer editor-in-chief, assistant news managing editor, news editor, senior culture reporter and senior news reporter.

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