Approval of enhancement projects to transform OU campus in 2014

Maintaining its commitment to providing students distinctive and engaging educational experiences, the Oakland University Board of Trustees has approved a $65 million investment in campus expansion and improvement projects.

These projects, scheduled for completion by the fall of 2014, promise to significantly transform Oakland’s 1,443-acre campus in Rochester, which is home to exceptional academic and student life programs that have stimulated a 37 percent increase in student enrollment over 15 consecutive years of growth.

Among projects included in Tuesday’s board action are:

  • construction of a nearly $30 million student housing complex;
  • dramatic enhancement of outdoor recreation and athletic fields;
  • construction of a 1,240-space parking structure, and;
  • construction of new headquarters for facility and grounds maintenance operations.

Approval of the new facilities comes quickly after the completion of Oakland’s nearly 172,825-square-foot Human Health Building last fall, groundbreaking for a 127,000-square-foot Engineering Center in October, and recent approval of plans for a 151-foot carillon tower made possible by a generous gift from longtime university benefactors Hugh and Nancy Elliott.

“We believe that what southeastern Michigan and the state as a whole need most now is renewed investment in the resources that will enable us to thrive in the 21st century,” said Oakland University President Gary Russi.

“Our most valuable resources are the young people who will soon assume leadership of our collective future. We believe the investment we’re making today will inspire them to work toward great successes that will undoubtedly be of tremendous benefit to all of us in years to come.”

Approved in concept by the Board of Trustees last December, the new student housing complex will welcome more than 500 resident students. It will also incorporate the Honors College and classrooms, a small cafe, and space for student meetings and private and group studying.

The new outdoor recreational and athletic facilities will accommodate NCAA Division I athletic events including tennis, and track and field meets; club and intramural sports competitions, and a variety of fitness and recreational activities welcoming university students, faculty, staff and community visitors. 

Oakland’s second parking structure will include four levels and provide a net gain of 930 spaces conveniently located near seven academic buildings. In total, the project will result in a better-than 10 percent boost in available parking on campus.

“Offering students a welcoming, engaging and inspiring setting in which to pursue their college studies will motivate them to fully immerse themselves in the learning process,” said Mary Beth Snyder, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.

“A college education should be a life-changing experience for students, and I’m confident that addressing their needs and aspirations with these new facilities will make attending Oakland even more rewarding.”

To learn more about the Oakland University, its diverse array of quality academic programs, and its facilities and grounds, visit