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December 12, 2012

OU plans new on-campus housing

By Linda Shepard
C & G Staff Writer

ROCHESTER HILLS — Expansion continues at Oakland University. A new $30 million student-housing facility is planned to open in 2014.

“With the new medical school, the new health building and new engineering center, OU is a first choice for a college destination,” said Ted Montgomery, OU media relations director.

The new OU William Beaumont School of Medicine welcomed its first students in 2012, the new Human Health Building opened in September, and university officials broke ground for a new School of Engineering and Computer Science in October.

The OU Board of Trustees passed a resolution Dec. 3 initiating the design process for a new campus-housing facility that will accommodate up to 550 students. According to university officials, student enrollment has risen each year for the past 15 years, and student housing rental agreements have grown by 37 percent throughout the last four years.

“We’ve known for some time that, as the quality and value of Oakland’s academic programs have grown, more and more prospective students have wanted to become part of our campus community,” said Oakland University President Gary Russi in a statement. “The university is now in an excellent position to begin implementing its strategic plan for housing development and answer the strong demand we’re hearing from students, both locally and across the region.”

Neumann/Smith Architecture in Southfield will design the new building, and Frank Rewold and Son of Rochester will construct the facility — aiming for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly design.

Oakland’s new Human Health Building features LEED certification, and the soon-to-be constructed Engineering Center incorporates LEED design principles.

University planners anticipate the additional on-campus housing will enhance the academic and extracurricular experience of Oakland’s students. A recent student survey shows 84 percent of the OU student body endorses expansion plans.

According to Montgomery, budgeted funds and bonds will pay for the new housing facility construction, which is planned for the north edge of campus, near existing on-campus housing. In coming months, university administrators will return to the Board of Trustees for approval of housing facility design and financing.

“More people want to live on campus,” Montgomery said. “New housing is really needed. It is all about campus life. We are really enhancing the student-life experience.”

Montgomery said OU could see additional expansion within the new few years. “We will keep moving in this area with strategic, carefully managed growth,” he said.

For more information about Oakland University, visit www.oakland.edu.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Linda Shepard at lshepard@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1065.