The Edmond Sun

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May 2, 2014

UCO celebrates groundbreaking of new residence hall

EDMOND — The University of Central Oklahoma celebrated the groundbreaking of a new residence hall with a ceremony and reception on Thursday.

The 440-bed hall, which is anticipated to open in August 2015, will be located just north of the university’s College of Business building along Ayers Avenue in Edmond. It is the former site of East Hall, which closed in 2001.

The $28 million, 120,000-square-foot structure will bring the total number of available beds on campus to 1,900. The hall will be paid for by auxiliary funds from the project.

“In the months to come, behind me will rise one of the model opportunities to express the connection between living and learning,” UCO President Don Betz said during Thursday’s ceremony.

“The conceptualization of this living-learning center really lies deep in the philosophy of this university, particularly our commitment that was made years ago to what we now call transformative learning. As you get to know this building, you’re going to see that it’s going to be far more to us than a place where 440 students live. It’s going to be a place where we find a new opportunity to express how we mesh living and learning in a very active way.”

The residence hall’s design focuses on connecting students to campus and building strong communities through a pod-style housing option. Betz noted that the concept of the design was meant to draw on existing campus buildings, but also to look to the university’s future.

The residence hall is the single largest construction project ever undertaken by the university. In addition to its many amenities, it will include a storm shelter in its basement built to Federal Emergency Management Agency standards.

“Students who live on campus are more involved, have higher GPAs and are more likely to graduate,” said Josh Overocker, executive director of business enterprises in the Office of Housing Administration at Central.

“We are excited to provide this opportunity for more students here at Central in a unique living environment that connects to students to campus and increases their opportunities for success.”

To learn more about Central’s Office of Housing and Dining, visit www.uco.edu/housing.

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