MACU to Break Ground for new Residence Hall
During the fall meeting of the Mid-America Christian University (MACU) Board of Trustees, a unanimous decision was made to proceed immediately with construction on a new residence hall.
The building will be the second new construction the university has started in as many years on the Oklahoma City main campus.
Just more than a year ago, on October 10, 2013, Mid-America broke ground for Kennedy Hall, a 30,000-sq.-ft. classroom building that will be dedicated January 10, 2014.
Mid-America President John Fozard said, “Current student housing has been under review for a few years,” said Fozard.
The school is in the midst of a significant growth cycle. Over the past six years alone, Mid-America has grown 203 percent, and the university has not built any additional housing since the campus was first constructed in 1984.
President Fozard said, “The time was approaching when we would either need to completely renovate the buildings or replace and expand them,” said Fozard. “Either way we were going to have a significant project on our hands.”
The tipping point for the decision came this past spring when Oklahoma City was hit by two EF-5 tornados. The Moore, Oklahoma, tornado of May 20th caused no significant damage to the south side main campus. In fact, 24 hours after power was restored to the campus the university had established a relief-support site on campus.
But the second storm on May 31st was another matter. The tree-toppling straight-line winds associated with that storm caused more than $500,000 in damages, including damage to the student housing facilities.
The damage to student housing was immediately repaired in preparation for summer campus events and returning students in the fall.
President Fozard recalls, “All but one of the units was re-opened this fall, but it was clear that we were reaching a point of diminishing returns on repairs.”
So, on October 9th, the trustees determined that—with Kennedy Hall virtually completed—and built completely debt-free—the university was in an excellent position to move forward with the new 32,000-square-foot residence hall.
President Fozard shared, “Our residential community is of immense importance to us. It’s an expression of who we are as a Christian university. So, here at the beginning of our 60th anniversary, it’s very meaningful to us to begin construction on a building that will help build a greater campus experience for our students,” he said.
Vice President for University Advancement Steve Seaton leads the fundraising effort for the residence hall. “As a university, we are asking friends in the community and from across the nation to help us build the new facility debt free, just as we built Kennedy Hall. It’s early yet, but we’re very encouraged,” said Seaton.
Some of that encouragement comes from an enthusiastic residential student body.
President Fozard announced the trustee’s decision to build the new residence hall during chapel services. The next week, following the first planning session for the groundbreaking ceremony, Student Government Association President Steven Guinett and Vice President Mason Brown announced that they’d like to see the student body give the initial gift to the fundraising campaign.
“I was deeply touched when I heard this,” said Vice President Seaton. “These students—many of whom will graduate this year and will never live in the new building—wanted to be the first to support endeavor,” Seaton reflected. “These students don’t have a lot to give, but they are giving all they can. That says a lot about the young people attending school at Mid-America. It makes me very proud.”
The cost of the 30,000-square-foot residence hall facility is estimated at $3.4 million. The building will feature: 102 residential beds, three common lounges, laundry facilities on each floor, and card access security entrances and exits.
Construction preparation has already begun and the completed facility is expected to open in August of 2014, just in time for the beginning of fall semester.
The fate of the current student housing is still being discussed.
President Fozard will bring the keynote address to students followed by comments from Steven Guinett, SGA president