Groundbreaking for new Southern Student Housing Complex on June 8

The wait is over. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Southern Student Housing Complex is scheduled for Wednesday, June 8 at 10:00 a.m. in Parking Lot 24 near Varner Hall.

Due to the significant increase in demand for on-campus housing following the rapid occupation of Oak View Hall, which left over 200 students on a waiting list and 93 in temporary housing at the beginning of the the 2015-16 school year, the housing department has made the decision to expand.

“Due to the saturation of North Campus, we have decided to expand to South Campus to create a hybrid building that will include 750 beds, classrooms, general purpose, dining and kitchen space for our students,” said Glenn McIntosh, vice president of Student Affairs. 

University Housing hopes the 750-bed, 289,000-square-foot complex complete with a full-service dining hall and Panera-style micro restaurant will become the new “crossroads of campus,” accommodating more than on-campus residents.

“It’s phenomenal to think that only three years ago we were holding the groundbreaking for Oak View Hall,” said James Zentmeyer, director of OU Housing. “The growth of on-campus residents is speaking for itself, as we are already in need of such a large facility.”

The ceremony is set to follow a similar schedule to the Oak View groundbreaking, with the addition of student and administrative speakers. Some of these include: President George Hynd; Glenn McIntosh; Shayne Hearns, 2016-2017 president of the Residence Hall Association (RHA); and Allie Nixon, OU Alumni, former University Housing employee and OUSC legislator.

University Housing is hoping to respond to student needs and demand through the design of the building as a way to honor their mission to create a student-centered department within a student centered university.

“A significant component of the design was focused on student input,” Zentmeyer said. “We are trying our best to make this a student-centered building, and we had a small group of students sit down with our architect during the initial planning phases to assure we make choices to best suit our students’ needs.”

The building will be meant for students of sophomore and junior standing.

Zentmeyer described the building’s location as “geographically ideal” for students in this phase of their education, as most students of this standing are primarily involved in taking core courses within their majors.

“We’re doing our best so that students have access to the resources and academic support they need in this key development time,” he said.

The ceremony will be a catered event, and is open to all.

For more information and details regarding the ceremony, contact Valerie Schultz at [email protected] or call (248) 370-4915.