The university has begun clearing land along Blue Starr Drive between the Physical Plant and the Diamond Sports Complex on the Claremore campus. The site will be used for a variety of purposes outlined in the campus master plan developed last year following a series of meetings with faculty, staff, students, campus groups, alumni and community members.
The campus master plan identifies a broad range of RSU’s facility needs for the next several years and beyond at all three campuses. Groundwork for the master plan began in 2013 following interviews and meetings with campus and community groups. In spring 2014, a draft was presented for comment to campus and community members during a series of public meetings. The plan then was presented to the OU Board of Regents, which approved it during its May meeting.
The recent site preparation work is making way for several campus improvements, including an intramural field, additional parking and an access road. The road will provide a second access point from campus to Blue Starr Drive and it will help make possible the planned future expansion along that corridor.
Tennis courts, available for use by the campus community, are planned for construction at the site in the near future. The project would be funded from a private donation earmarked for athletics.
Long-term plans call for other projects to be developed on the site, including a multipurpose center designed for commencement, sporting events and other large-scale campus and community events.
The new site incorporates about 15 acres adjacent to Blue Starr Drive and the National Guard armory that were part of the university-owned nature reserve. RSU officials have been working closely with the National Guard and the Rogers County Conservation District, which operates the nature reserve, throughout the planning process. The planning process and subsequent site preparation have more clearly defined areas for the university’s future development while providing a footprint for the conservation district to use for in its long-term plans for the nature reserve.
The reserve still includes more than 100 acres for academic and community use, including new trails developed by the conservation district. University officials continue to collaborate with conservation district officials to ensure the nature reserve will continue serving the education needs for the hundreds of area schoolchildren who visit the facility annually.
Additional major projects on the campus master plan include renovation and expansion of Loshbaugh Hall, renovation and expansion of the historic Will Rogers Auditorium and construction of a new classroom building. All of these projects are planned near the university’s historic core.
RSU also soon expects to clear land at Col. Horne Drive and University Drive for a parking lot located across the street from University Village A. This work is being done in preparation of the Loshbaugh Hall expansion, which will require closing the parking lot immediately east of the building. The new University Drive parking lot will replace those parking spaces, while also adding several hundred additional spaces serving future development near that portion of campus.
Construction of all campus master plan projects is dependent on securing public or private funds dedicated to the projects.