OU is growing by leaps, bounds

Brilliant glass walls, a massive auditorium and even a bowling alley are included in the intricate new plan to expand the Oakland Center. The plan is being developed by Board of Trustees liaisons, Samantha Wolf and Robbie Williford and Director of the OC Richard Fekel.

These plans aren’t set in stone yet and are just a concept. But according to Wolf, with the student body backing it up, this concept could become a reality.

The addition of a bowling alley and an auditorium top the list, but the proposed floor plan also includes new meeting rooms, extra space for eating venues, an expanded banquet room and a pub

In March, students and faculty representatives, went to visit four universities: Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Ohio State and Akron. The goal was to get ideas on ways to improve the OC.

“Naturally, all the ideas from the union trip were incorporated into the floor plan draft and communicated to the architects by Samantha,” Fekel said.

Part of the rationale for the expansion is that the OC is too small to accommodate student and faculty.

“Students sit on the ground during prime times of the day,” Wolf said. “There are going to be more students on campus and we need more room. This is really needed, and we want the students to have the full campus experience.”

Notably, the possibility of having a bowling alley is already causing a commotion amongst OU students.

“I don’t think many people would have time to actually bowl an entire game,” said Brandon Hartley, senior. “It’s also silly because there’s already a bowling alley just a few miles away.”

Some disagree about the value of the bowling alley.

“As a commuter, I think a bowling alley is an absolutely fantastic idea,” said Aeson Welch, junior. “If you’re stuck on campus with nothing to do, you can start up a game.”

The other controversial feature of this plan is whether the pub will serve alcohol.

“Almost every school we visited had a pub of some sort in the union building,” Wolf said. 

“The one at Ohio State would have trivia nights and it would be a big place to get a drink during games.”

Fekel said that the issue of a bar on campus is being looked into, but the State of Michigan, might not allow it.

The State of Michigan also doesn’t provide funding for the OC, according to Fekel, since it’s not an academic building. This means that the fate of this OC expansion lies in the hands of the students.

“There are several things the students can do,” said Wolf, “Send emails to OUSC President, Brandon Hanna. Send letters or go to OUSC. This could come down to a potential vote.”

Since this concept isn’t an actual concrete plan yet, the cost and the estimated time that the project would take are all unknown.