Tuesday, May 20, 2014
STATE: A Gateway to Orange
OSU-Tulsa’s newest ‘oranging up’ efforts will create a distinctive entrance to campus.
|Construction of the OSU-Tulsa Signature Gateway is part of an “oranging-up” effort and increases the campus’s connectivity with downtown Tulsa.|
Tulsa’s downtown skyline now includes a bright orange Oklahoma State University presence.
“This project will clearly display OSU’s presence downtown and unequivocally establish our position in Tulsa,” OSU-Tulsa President Howard Barnett says of the university’s new Signature Gateway.
The 70-foot-tall structure, emblazoned on all sides with illuminated OSU logos, is part of OSU-Tulsa’s “oranging up” efforts in the city.
“With the incredible rejuvenation of downtown by the city in the past decade, we wanted to increase our connectivity with downtown while making it clear that when you are here, you’re in OSU country,” Barnett says. “From any vantage point downtown, you’ll know this is OSU-Tulsa.”
Located on Tulsa’s historic Standpipe Hill on the west side of campus, the gateway tower overlooks Interstate 244 and the Brady Arts District.
“Part of this project, in conjunction with the city of Tulsa, will include new sidewalks to make pedestrian traffic between campus and downtown easier,” Barnett says. “We have participated in similar projects on Elgin Avenue to make it easier for pedestrians to walk between OSU-Tulsa and ONEOK Field.”
The University Center at Tulsa Trust, which owns the 180 acres OSU-Tulsa partially occupies, is providing funding for the project. Alaback Design Associates designed the Signature Gateway, and contractor Flintco is undertaking construction and landscaping efforts.
The “oranging up” project is an effort to transform campus from the University Center at Tulsa color scheme to a look more reflective of Oklahoma State University. Efforts include updating painting and carpeting, adding OSU branding and signage, and highlighting OSU-Tulsa’s connection to the main campus in Stillwater.
“As our campus continues to grow, I think it’s important for OSU-Tulsa to more closely reflect the OSU brand,” Barnett says. “The ‘oranging up’ efforts are another way of strengthening our ties with Stillwater and defining a place for OSU in Tulsa in the city.”
As part of the project, OSU-Tulsa is working with Tulsa on street improvements along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Detroit Avenue and John Hope Franklin Boulevard. The second phase of the project calls for streetscape improvements and lighting additions along the entrance to campus.
Plans call for construction and landscape work on the Signature Gateway are to end this spring. The streetscape improvements should be finished in 2015.
Standpipe Hill is a historic location in Tulsa. The hilltop overlooks the site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, which destroyed much of the Greenwood District. It is also where one of Tulsa’s first water towers once stood, giving the location its name. Legend has it that Dalton Gang members used the hill as a lookout to make sure they could safely attend church nearby.
“We are conducting a lot of research on the history of Standpipe Hill with the help of the Oklahoma Historical Society,” Barnett says. “Our plan is to include much of that history on an informational marker once the project is complete.”
OSU-Tulsa will also be working with the University Center at Tulsa Trust Authority on land improvements and possible expansion west of campus. The authority owns most of the undeveloped land around the OSU-Tulsa campus.
This story originally ran in the Spring 2014 issue of STATE Magazine.