Multi-million dollar renovation and expansion plan announced for one of OU's oldest buildings

One of the oldest buildings on the Oakland University campus is set to receive a $40 million facelift, this thanks to a bill approved by the Michigan legislature and signed by outgoing Governor Rick Snyder.

The state will contribute $30 million to the project while the university will issue $10 million in bonds.

Opened in 1959, South Foundation Hall was one of the first buildings built on the campus of the Rochester-based university. The $40 million project will see a renovation of the original 55,000 sq. ft. building as well as the construction of a 25,000 sq. ft. expansion.

"This renovation of an original campus classroom building will gradually build a sense of timelessness that links generations of the campus community," says Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost James P. Lentini.

"It also provides much-needed academic space for a campus that has seen tremendous enrollment growth and has transformed into a national research university."

The university asserts that the multi-million dollar project addresses a critical shortage of classroom space on campus. According to its website, enrollment at OU has increased nearly every year since opening in 1959 and increased 59 percent over a 20 year period from 1998 to 2018.

The original building will be reconfigured to allow for more classrooms and contemporary teaching methods and technology. The expansion will complement capacity.

Current usage plans include improving options for programs of the College of Arts and Sciences.

"We greatly appreciate the governor, legislature and especially our local representatives supporting the ongoing growth and sustainability of Oakland University," says OU President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz.

"The renovation of South Foundation Hall is an important component of our strategic plan and will enable us to continue to meet the educational needs of all of our students."

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.