MAYES COUNTY, Okla. - From cow pastures to college classes.
Officials broke ground Monday on a new Rogers State University campus at the MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor.
The new RSU satellite campus joins Northeastern Technology Center and Oklahoma State Institute of Technology, which both operate branches at the park.
MidAmerica is providing funding for the 71-acre site, facility construction and site work to include all roads, parking lots, landscaping and utility placements. RSU and MidAmerica will enter into a long-term lease for the facility, allowing the university to relocate its Pryor campus to the industrial park.
"The partnership between MidAmerica and RSU creates a critical mass of educational opportunities at the industrial park, which enables us to retain current companies while also recruiting new well-paying, high-tech firms to the site," said Sanders Mitchell, MidAmerica administrator.
RSU also plans to team up with MidAmerica and other nearby companies to create classes that will be specifically designed for the Pryor campus. "To offer to the community so that we can create a better workforce," said Sherry Alexander, RSU Pryor director.
Sophomore nursing student Tessa Gerhart is a full-time student paying her own way through college without loans. The Pryor campus makes that possible. "Going to college is really expensive," said Gerhart. "Having a university where I can commute from home and still live with my parents has allowed me to save some cash."
The 38,400-square-foot building will more than double the size of the existing campus. The two-story facility will feature classrooms, computer labs, science labs, library, student lounge, food service and dining facilities, bookstore, meeting rooms and a 150-seat auditorium to be used from classroom use and the general public, administrative and faculty offices and an outside patio area.
RSU President Larry Rice said expanding RSU's presence in Pryor will better enable the university to meet its mission to educate and prepare students for making a difference in Mayes County and northeastern Oklahoma.
"The new RSU Pryor campus will be well suited to meet the educational needs of Mayes residents," said Rice. "The expanded facilities also will uniquely position the university to continue meeting the region's economic development needs by partnering with MidAmerica and other regional business and industry to provide a better educated workforce."
Rogers State University has campuses in Claremore, Pryor and Bartlesville.
Construction is scheduled to begin in May with anticipated completion in summer 2013. Class will begin in fall 2013.