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OU President Joseph Harroz announces plans to replace towers in freshman housing master plan

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Couch Tower

Couch tower covered in snow on Feb. 18.

In today's meeting of the OU Board of Regents, OU President Joseph Harroz announced the administration's plan to replace the residential hall towers located on south campus.

The towers include Adams, Couch and Walker, which are currently used as freshman dormitories.

"The towers right now were built in the '60s, the mid-'60s," Harroz said. "So what we are endeavoring to do is go on a multi-year plan to replace those."

The agenda for the meeting stated that the university will engage an architectural firm in professional master planning and architectural services to construct “3,350 new beds” while maintaining the current freshman bed count.

"In this agenda is the selection of the architect, one of the very first critical phases in this to work on the phasing options, the siding, the infrastructure issues that attach to that, housing configurations, construction documents, and the construction administration... we will replace the towers that are presently on campus."

Five architecture firms — ADG Inc. /Mackey Mitchell Architects, KSQ Architects, P.C./Rand Elliot Architects, 3. Bockus Payne Architects/Ayers Saint Gross, Frankfurt-Short Bruza Associates, P.C. /KWK Architects and MA+ Architecture/TreanorHL — are up for further consideration to fulfill the “Freshman Housing Master Plan.” The agenda states that “funds to cover the costs associated with preliminary professional services up to $4,000,000 for the first phase(s) are available and identified from Housing Operations.”

OU President Joseph Harroz recommends in another section of the agenda for the board to authorize a request to the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President Pro Tempore of the State Senate seeking approval to issue general, limited and special obligation bonds in support of funding student housing infrastructure located on the university’s Norman campus.

In 2019, the nonprofit that funded and constructed the multimillion-dollar Cross Village housing project filed litigation against the university due to its decision not to renew Cross Village commercial and parking leases. The project’s bondholder trustee and the university exchanged accusatory letters in September 2019 threatening legal action regarding Cross Village.

“This action is the first step in the process of issuing general, limited and special obligation bonds and does not commit the university to the issuance of them. Obtaining legislative approval simply allows the university to proceed with planning for this issue,” the agenda states. “At this time the university’s administration is preparing for the issuance of general, limited and special obligation bonds in the next nine months to provide up to $185,000,000 for funding student housing infrastructure, located on the premises of the Norman campus in Cleveland County.”

Editor-in-Chief

Jordan Miller is a journalism and political science senior serving as The Daily's Editor-in-Chief. Previously she served as The Daily's news managing editor, news editor, assistant visual editor and was an SGA beat reporter.

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