The Edmond Sun

Sports

July 16, 2012

OSU’s Athletic Village coming to life

STILLWATER — Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder and energy entrepreneur, alumnus and mega-donor T. Boone Pickens shared a dream — reviving the university’s aging athletic facilities and its programs through the creation of an Athletic Village.

The dream was caught in the carnage of the economic and stock market meltdown of 2008.

A facilities fund that contained $407 million in summer 2008 lost $282 million in four months. Athletic Village plans were shelved for three years. Pickens said it could take 10 years to build the Athletic Village although he hoped it could be completed more quickly.

Today, parts of the athletic village are under construction, closer to construction or soon to be in the hands of architects.

The $20-million indoor practice facility should be ready in summer 2013. The contract for OSU’s $7 million indoor tennis facility has been awarded to Lippert Brothers. The cost of tennis facility’s outdoor courts is being estimated now. The cost of those courts should be available by the end of this month.

An architect for a new track and field facility is expected to be selected at the Board of Regents for Oklahoma A&M Colleges meeting on July 27 in Ardmore. A meeting agenda hasn’t been posted, yet.

Oklahoma State University plans to open a new residence hall at the location of the Droke Track and Field Center on Hall of Fame Avenue in fall 2014. OSU’s residence hall occupancy rates are projected to be near 98 percent this fall.

“Our athletic department’s finances are the strongest they have ever been. Work on facilities in the Athletic Village is well under way. The indoor practice facility, indoor tennis facility and track should all be completed in a year or so,” Oklahoma State University spokesman Gary Shutt said.

All of OSU’s Athletic Village projects are financed through private donations.

Oklahoma State University alumnus Sherman Smith gave OSU $20 million to build the indoor practice facility in 2011. It was the second largest private donation in OSU history. Smith died June 6, 2011. The facility will be named the Sherman F. Smith Training Center.

The erection of steel on the Smith Center is 90 percent completed.

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