Construction continues in Oakland Center


Nicole Morsfield

The OC will soon have a “Winter Garden” with the Plum Market, a new place for dining on campus

Ariel Themm, Staff Reporter

The Oakland Center is currently undergoing renovations to add extensions onto the building, which is expected to be completed by fall 2018.

The north end will have three new meeting rooms, a new entry way, new access to the lower levels and a new elevator. The north side of the OC should be completed by this March so that the seniors will be able to experience some of these new additions.

For the north side, most of the structure is up. New frames for the windows are expected to come in this week. The main focus will be shifting to the interior design soon, while the exterior shell should also be completed shortly after.

Over spring break, the construction crew will be removing the current north stairway to connect it with the new north entrance. This will allow students to go from outside to the main level.

The south end will be adding the Winter Garden. This will be a large open area that will be glass top to bottom, looking out to Kresge Library and Elliott Tower. It will also be the new destination dining area with the arrival of Plum Market.

The south end will be adding a new ballroom on the second floor. It is to be 50 percent larger than the current banquet room.

Ever since the groundbreaking ceremony last April, about 100 construction workers from the Christman Company have been working on this project.

John Harmala is the project manager within the Department of Capital Planning and Design at Oakland University. Harmala is responsible for the oversight of the budget and schedule of this project.

“It requires a significant planning to coordinate all of the work,” Harmala said. “Since the Oakland Center has remained open during construction, the logistics for completing work within the building with minimal impact on occupants has been very challenging.”

The process has proved to have difficulties with unexpected flooding and other problems. It’s been so difficult that sometimes, workers have had to wait until after hours to finish part of the job. Nonetheless, they have been working diligently to meet their goals.

“Looking at other national standards and benchmarks for student unions and centers, we were definitely undersized compared to others,” Christopher Reed, director of the OC, said. “I think most of the students could tell and I myself experienced it, we would have a lot of students sitting in hallways, looking for places to sit. With these new additions, especially the south side, it will help with seating and alleviating the stress with having the general student body being here.”

Reed hopes that, with the finished product, there will be room for more activities and that the OC will be more than just a place to eat or study. More programs can be brought in with the new space to cater to those needs.

“I think this will be good for the university and the surrounding community,” he said.