Oakland Center reopens, prepares to welcome students back in fall

The+outside+of+the+Oakland+Center

Sophie Hume

The outside of the Oakland Center

Autumn Page, Staff Reporter

The Oakland Center (OC) has begun to reopen with limited hours and is preparing to welcome students back in the fall. 

Subway was the first food service to open on July 6, with protective measures in place. 

“[Subway has] specific lines for entering and exiting,” said Chris Reed, director of the OC. “The line does require everyone to stay six feet apart, there’s markings on the floor and there’s additional plexiglass put out, so when you’re ordering your food there’s an additional barrier.”

The other food services are getting ready to open as well, along with the bookstore. The bookstore is planning to reopen on Aug. 3. The OC is working with the Oakland University Credit Union location across the street to see if the one on campus will open in the fall.

“I think the biggest change that students will see is that face masks are required and the amount of seating in the building has been reduced by at least 50% to accommodate social distancing,” Reed said. “You’ll also see more effort to clean and sanitize the building — there’s additional hand sanitizers on walls, and our cleaning staff is more regularly sanitizing.”

Right now, only certain entrances open, but there are no specific designations for enter or exit only doors. There are four entrances open, and more will be accessible when they can be cleaned more regularly. Northwest and Northeast corner doors, the main entrance facing the P1 parking lot and the large entrances that faces O’Dowd Hall are open. 

There is a possibility for limited capacity at the OC, but Reed and OC Associate Director, Anita Hicks, both agree they don’t expect to reach maximum capacity because of the lack of in-person classes.

Booths that are in the Oakland Center have been social distanced with caution tape for students on campus during the fall semester. Any permanent fixtures of the OC were blocked off if they are closer than six feet apart. Emily Morris

“With less people on campus, there’ll be less people in the building, but that’s something that our team is really passionate about — monitoring the number of people in the building and to make sure everyone is safe,” Hicks said.

The OC staff are tracking the amount of traffic inside the building, and will continue to track as the fall semester starts to determine the capacity.

If the OC does reach maximum capacity, there will be a line outside that people can wait in —  no one will be turned away. Both Reed and Hicks agreed that they don’t see a lot of students being in the building besides coming and going.

The seating in the Oakland Center has been social distanced to prepare for students’ return in the fall. All furniture is six feet apart and enclosed by yellow tape boundaries. Emily Morris

Each student, upon returning to campus, will be given a reusable mask.

“All entrance points have signs reminding people to wear masks and the university did purchase washable, reusable masks that are branded with the interlocking OU [logo] will be given to every student when they return to campus,” Reed said.

The mask will be available to pick up next month — only one mask per student. 

Organizations are still allowed to meet within the OC as long as they follow the guidelines set forth by the state and the university. They have been given those guidelines for small meetings, and it’s recommended they go outside if they want to have bigger gatherings. 

“As long as it’s going along with the executive order, yes [student organizations can meet in the OC],” Hicks said “We do want some student presence and to be able to have some student socialization within the building.”