**For Immediate Release**
New Building Will Combine Education and Service
-released by OPSU Campus Communications 03-17-2006
by Laura Dahl
Okla. - Officials at Oklahoma Panhandle State
University have been meeting with architects from McFarland
Davies of Tulsa to plan and design the Science and Agriculture
building. The new construction is made possible by the
$6.53 million allotted to OPSU as part of the $500 million
capital bond issue passed by the 2005 Oklahoma legislature
for infrastructure improvements at all public college and
university campuses in the state.
McFarland Davies is currently preparing two plan options
for OPSU to consider which will incorporate cost effectiveness
and needs. One cost saving feature includes utilizing existing
steam and chilled water lines to heat and cool the building.
Using the extra capacity in those lines will enhance the
energy efficiency of the new facility. Soil tests for the
site will be conducted next month, and construction documents
will be finished in August so a general contractor may
be chosen through the bidding process. Groundbreaking will
take place in late fall of this year, and the building
will be in use by the 2008 fall semester.
The new structure will be located in the center of campus,
northwest of the Firestone Meats Lab and south of Holter
and Hamilton Halls. Agriculture and Science will share
the facility, providing an excellent opportunity to share
resources between these two areas of study.
In addition to classrooms
and teaching and research laboratories, the building
will incorporate a water quality testing lab that will
benefit local municipalities and the agricultural sector.
A chemistry/feed analysis lab will provide area beef
and pork producers with assistance in analyzing feedstuffs.
Richard Smith, a lab design specialist employed by Loebl
Schlossman & Hackl of Chicago, will work closely with
OPSU faculty and the builder to ensure all of the labs
meet design and quality standards.
Equipping the laboratories with specialized equipment
is a top priority and one which the bond issue funds will
not fully cover. The Noble Foundation has approved a $500,000
challenge grant, which means the organization will match
the funds OPSU is able to raise up to that amount. With
the opportunity to fund $1 million in specialized equipment,
OPSU will soon launch a fundraising campaign to meet the
challenge. Anyone interested in more information may contact
President Dave Bryant at 580-349-1302.
According to Bryant, “We are in the process of matching
budget with needs. While we can’t fund everything
we would like to have, the generosity of the Noble Foundation
will help augment the research and education that will
take place in our new laboratories. The completion of the
building coincides with our 2009 Centennial celebration,
and we intend to commemorate the past while saluting the
future of OPSU.”