OU prepped for return of students amid construction

University administrators are prepping students for parking changes due to construction.


An email sent to all students this week advised to plan ahead in getting ready for their commute. Temporary gravel lots are being set up by P-37 and P-41 off the Pioneer Drive entrance. Additional gravel spaces are being added to P-11. P-34 will be open at the start of the school year after being closed for sanitation line maintenance.


OU is building an Engineering Center, a new residence hall projected to have 500 beds and a 151 foot bell tower in the space between O’Dowd Hall, Kresge Library and the Oakland Center. A new recreation complex will be located in the Upper Fields.


As a result of the construction, lot P-5 by the residence halls, as well as lots P-32 and P-36 will be losing spots.


Terry Stollsteimer, associate vice president of facilities management, advised that students not expect spots in the main lot as those will fill up early in the morning. More parking will be available in outer lots.

Go for the shuttle


In order to help alleviate the parking problem, Stollsteimer said the plan is to utilize the Bear Bus system.


“For the temporary parking lots, we’re going to have three bus shelters,” Stollsteimer said. “Those three bus shelters will be installed by the end of September. It’s a little bit later than we had hoped for, but we will have designated parking pick up areas, and then come the end of September, the bus shelters will be there.”


The Bear Bus system, initially an initiative of Student Congress, is now run through the University Housing department. This arrangement has been convenient as the department has been using the buses to transport students that were living in the Extended Stay Suites due to consecutive years of overbooking.


Although University Housing Director Jim Zentmeyer said they again have booked rooms at the hotel due to demand, he doesn’t expect this to be a problem for the shuttle system.


“We have expanded the number of beds reserved through the Extended Stay Suites,” Zentmeyer said. “The Bear Bus schedule already includes regular runs with one of our small vans to the Extended Stay Suites.”


Due to the parking situation, Zentmeyer said the buses will be increasing their presence on the campus itself.


Zentmeyer outlined three different routes for the buses on campus.


” The Northern Route will run between the new Upper Fields gravel parking lot and (Human Health Building),” he said. “The Central Route will run between P-11 and the O’rena turn around. The Southern Route will run between P-35/37 and the O’rena turn around.”


Walk this way


In addition to changes in parking, there are a few new sidewalk routes.

Stollsteimer said students walking in the area between Kresge, O’Dowd and the Oakland Center could expect a mild detour.


“With the construction, especially where the bell tower is, there’s access around that,” he said. “The routes might be a little bit longer, but we put extra paving in so that people can get between the bell tower and the Oakland Center. There’s an asphalt sidewalk that’s been put in.”


Additional sidewalk has been laid by P-11.