OKMULGEE, Okla., Jan. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology rolled out a 25-year master plan for the 160-acre campus in Okmulgee, taking Oklahoma's only university of applied technology into the next quarter century.
While the plan includes campus beautification projects – additional water features, an expanded trail system and revamped entrances – its primary focus is the development of facilities to meet increasing industry demand, while working to close the skills gap.
"It's not just about planning new walls to replace the old ones, but growing and upgrading to meet industry needs and trends," said Dr. Bill R. Path, president of OSUIT. "What makes this campus remarkable is the large laboratory environments that can house learning tools and equipment literally delivered by cranes. The instructional spaces are unique, setting us apart from any other university in the state."
The master plan process began more than a year ago when representatives from Dewberry, an architectural firm located in Tulsa, took a comprehensive look at the campus and its infrastructure.
"OSUIT is absolutely unique. We have gained so much respect for the history of the institution and the mission of the institution," said Dominic Spadafore, project manager at Dewberry.
The plan takes into account the growing demand for a skilled and highly educated workforce from industries such as energy, information technologies, manufacturing and engineering.
The Chesapeake Energy Natural Gas Compression Training Center, built in 2012, is a perfect example of companies partnering with OSUIT in order to construct a facility to educate students to meet an industry employment need.
Dewberry Principal Bruce Henley said one challenge the master plan hopes to address is the overwhelming demand from companies to have access to programs like those at OSUIT.
"Because of the technical training and applied learning space needed at OSUIT, the required space for each student is almost double the guideline set by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education," Henley said. "Those spaces are occupied by students 71 percent of time, more than the average rate of 65 percent."
Path said to his knowledge this is the first long-range master plan for the institution.
"This is a road map that can move us forward for the next 20 to 25 years," Path said. "We're blending the campus heritage with its intended future. The campus looks nothing like it did when it was purchased post-World War II. We will naturally evolve, but now we have created the template to work from."
Changes won't happen overnight. Path said a data collection team has begun touring major divisions with the institution and communicating with division heads, program directors and instructors.
"A feasibility study conducted with the OSU Foundation is the next step in the process," Path said. "New construction is dependent on several factors including available funding, current building conditions and program enrollment needs."
Path has experience with developing college campuses. During his 10 years serving as president of Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb., he oversaw the construction of 10 buildings on three campuses.
Path said the goal is to announce the next major construction project on the OSUIT campus later this year.
"There's a case to be made for every building on this plan," he said. "Within the next year we'll get architects to start designing our next project."
For more information visit osuit.edu/masterplan
About Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology
OSU Institute of Technology is Oklahoma's only university of applied technology, offering accelerated degree programs -- including bachelor of technology degrees in civil engineering, instrumentation engineering, and information technologies as well as associate degrees – to students in 73 Oklahoma counties, 24 states and 16 countries. OSUIT is known for its high academic standards, world-class teaching facilities, unique partnerships with business and industry, and one of the highest career placement rates in the region. For more information about OSUIT, call 918.293.4680 or 1.800.722.4471, or visit www.osuit.edu.
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SOURCE Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology