Designs for new residence hall approved at BOT meeting

Grace Turner, life editor

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Designs for OU’s new residence hall were approved at Monday’s board of trustees (BOT) meeting, according to OU’s Communications and Marketing.

Construction will begin for “Oakland University Housing No. 9,” (the temporary name for the building) in June, according to the Oakland Press. OU hopes to open the hall in August 2018.

The 290,000-square-foot building will have room for 750 residents. It will cost around $78 million to build.

It will be the only residence hall on the south side of campus, which is one of the reasons why it will be geared toward sophomores and juniors, Jim Zentmeyer, director of housing, told the Oakland Press. By their second year, students usually know what they’re majoring in, so having a residence hall closer to academic buildings would be beneficial.

Zentmeyer called the hall a “step up” from other housing on campus.

A floor plan published by OU’s Communications and Marketing shows four bedrooms attached to a common room with a kitchenette. A half-bath and a separate room with a shower also come off of the common room.

Two full kitchen and dining rooms will also be included in the hall, along with four classrooms, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Trustees want the building’s outside appearance to match other buildings on campus, according to the Oakland Press.

About 2,700 students live on campus, according to the Detroit Free Press. With housing filling fast each year, the completion of the hall will help with overcrowding.

According to OU’s Communications and Marketing, the BOT approved Neumann Smith as the architectural firm in charge of the design at the Dec. 2, 2015 meeting. The construction company Frank Rewold and Son Inc. was approved at the Feb. 22, 2016 meeting.

At Monday’s meeting, the BOT also approved the Christman Company as the construction firm for the Oakland Center expansion. The firm built the Human Health Building in 2012, according to the Oakland Press. The OC expansion will cost $44 million and add 60,000 square feet. Now, the OC is 140,000 square feet.

The board also approved the creation of a major in cybersecurity and a three-year contract extension for Greg Kampe, coach of OU’s men’s basketball team, according to the Oakland Press.

Robert Schostak, the most recent addition to the board as of December 2015, attended his first meeting on Monday, according to the Oakland Press. He replaced Scott Kunselman after Kunselman resigned from the board and was later hired as OU’s chief operating officer.

The board’s next meeting will be held on June 6. It will be the last meeting of the academic year, according to the Oakland Press.