Board of Trustees unanimously approves construction projects

More construction projects will be coming to Oakland University in the summer of 2019 and 2021, after the Board of Trustees met for the first time in 2019 on Thursday, Feb. 7. The agenda items that will affect students the most are renovations to academic and residential buildings on campus.

The construction-related items for discussion were the approval of Project Support for University Community by Creating Enhanced Student Services (S.U.C.C.E.S.S.) and a schematic approval for the Anne V. Nicholson apartments’ exterior.

Project S.U.C.C.E.S.S. will bring renovations to five buildings on campus and begin construction in 2021. It will add 40,000 square feet to campus adjacent to Wilson Hall. It will also include 54,000 square feet of renovations to Wilson Hall, Vandenberg Hall, O’Dowd Hall and North Foundation Hall.

The Wilson Hall extended wing will be added to the side of Wilson that is right next to P2 and Bear Lake, occupying some of the empty space that is currently sidewalks and grass.

The project was proposed in an attempt to improve building square footage per student, which is a statistic Oakland ranks last in at all public universities in the state of Michigan. The additional 94,000 square feet will bring Oakland closer to second-to-last Grand Valley State University in square footage per student.

Not only will it renovate buildings, it will relocate student services such as advising tutoring, career placement.

“This project will provide a comprehensive consolidation of these services to logical and easy to access locations,” said Scott Kunselman, Chief Operating Officer. “Approximately two thirds of the scope of this project is student facing. In addition, many administrative offices will be located to improve operational efficiencies.”

Project S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is not funded by the tuition increase, despite it costing $20.535 million. It will use $8.335 million in University Reserves instead, and is complementary to the anticipated 2022 South Foundation Hall Project. The estimated completion date is late 2021.  It was unanimously passed by the BOT.

The Anne V. Nicholson apartments will be receiving a renovation to their exterior surfaces and a roof replacement for aesthetic and maintenance purposes. The outside of the apartments will be changed from a stucco substance to a durable gray vinyl substance. The roof will be replaced with a dark gray shingling, as the current brown shingling has reached the end of its life expectancy according to director of University Housing James Zentmeyer.

“I’ve heard it referred to as Frankenmuth south,” Zentmeyer said. “It was first built in 2002… we want to make it watertight. We want to prevent water penetration. We are also using this as a great opportunity to dress up and make a statement with the exterior appearance as well.”

Both apartment renovations will cost $1,816,035 and has an estimated completion date of August 2019. The Nicholson project will begin after the winter semester ends, and will be completed before move-in. The renovations were unanimously approved by the BOT as well.