JANUARY 19, 2005

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UCO to house students, classroom's in Edmond hotel

Edmond’s Ramada Inn is about to close its doors as a hotel, and re-open again as housing for students attending the University of Central Oklahoma.

UCO President W. Roger Webb has announced a partnership between the university and Edmond businessmen Steve Hurst and Derek Turner that will help the university to continue to meet the high demand for on-campus student housing.

Hurst and Turner recently purchased the Ramada Inn, located across Second Street from UCO, and have agreed to lease the building to the university effective Jan. 6.

Webb said UCO will immediately begin transforming the building from a hotel to a university residence for living and learning.

He said the UCO Housing Office had to turn students away last fall, returning approximately 300 deposits
for resident housing because of a lack of available rooms.

“We know that many of these students, who could not live on campus due to lack of living space, went to other colleges or universities that had more living options.

“We are experiencing a trend where more students and parents are demanding on-campus housing because they recognize that most students, particularly freshmen, do much better academically than their peers who live off campus.”

Webb praised Hurst and Turner and their commitment to UCO.

“This would not have been possible at this time without this unique partnership,” Webb said. “I appreciate those Edmond business leaders who have made a substantial investment based on their belief in the growth and future of UCO.”

Among the improvements to the building will be new electrical wiring and lighting systems in the rooms, upgrades to the elevators, new interior paint and any other changes necessary to ensure the building is up to fire and building codes required for student housing.

UCO Vice President for Student Affairs Kathryn Gage said that with amenities such as a swimming pool, a workout room, possible game rooms, plans for wireless internet and other technology improvements, and potential for first-floor commercial space, the Ramada building will serve as UCO’s high-end campus housing.

“I want it to be a place that has a lot of appeal, where students will feel like they’re coming into a state-of-the-art facility,” Gage said.

“This is great news for UCO and for Edmond. Having more students living on campus and near one of Edmond’s busy retail areas will benefit UCO as well as the community.”

With two students to each of the building’s 148 rooms, UCO will have additional housing for nearly 300 students. The university also has plans to locate as many as three new classrooms in the building.

Contact: Charles Johnson, UCO News Bureau Director (405) 974-2315