OCTOBER 19, 2006

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Seminole State College celebrates red-letter week


David Wilson, chair of the Seminole State College Board of Regents; Harvey Robison, chair of the SSC Educational Foundation; and SSC president Dr. Jim Utterback, recently signed papers formalizing transactions regarding the real estate and bond sales for the college's new residence hall project.

The last few days of September, 2006 will be remembered as red-letter dates in the history of Seminole State College.

Several milestones were reached in beginning a new phase of construction and development on the College’s 81-acre campus. The Oklahoma Development Finance Authority (ODFA), acting on behalf of SSC, issued revenue bonds for the construction of a new 150-bed student housing facility. The bonds have already been sold and preliminary construction activity is occurring at the site.

Dr. Jim Utterback, SSC president, said, “This is the beginning of historic changes that will shape the future of the College forever.”

The steps taken this week bring long-time plans for the College into reality. The need for additional housing for SSC students has been on the College’s master plan for decades. The need was partially met when the Roesler Residential Learning Center opened in 2000. However, the 82-bed Roesler facility was filled to capacity when it opened – and the need remained a pressing matter.

Breaking ground on the residence hall this past week sets in motion plans for other major construction to be done on the campus in the coming year. Through funding provided by the 2005 Higher Education Bond, a maintenance building, a softball complex and wellness facility, and additions to Tanner Hall consisting of classrooms, labs, offices and a one-stop student enrollment and success center will be built.

Utterback said that the recent accomplishments are a result of literally years of planning and teamwork between many entities and individuals. “For a small college we are truly making incredible advancements. What’s happening at Seminole State College shows what can be achieved when diverse groups pull together to work for a common good,” Utterback said.

He credited the leadership and commitment of the SSC Board of Regents and the SSC Educational Foundation Board of Trustees for their efforts in helping the College grow.

“Our Regents have been consistently supportive as we have explored different avenues to get these building projects started. Their vision for this institution has been the driving force in planning for future growth.

“The Foundation has been instrumental in bringing these projects to life. Lead gifts from private donors such as SSC Founder Award recipients Jimmie and Marie Austin, Melvin and Jamsine Moran and Dennis and Leilani Roesler have provided the necessary foundation for this growth.

“The individual and community support we receive for Foundation fundraising events has been overwhelming. Receiving support from groups such as AT&T, Chickasaw Nation, MBO, Choctaw Nation, PSO, OG&E, Seminole Nation, Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma, among many others, speaks to our relationships in this area and across the state. Having all of these entities behind us, helps make possible accomplishments that are only dreamt of by other colleges,” Utterback said.

SSC Educational Foundation Chair Harvey Robinson participated in a recent document signing ceremony regarding the residence hall project. He said members of the Foundation are also excited about the accomplishments of the past week.

Robinson said, “This is an exciting time for the College, City of Seminole and students in the surrounding area. With the addition of these student housing units we can provide a great initial college experience for many more students. Dr. Utterback and all of the Seminole State College staff are to be commended for their commitment to the quality educational opportunities offered at the College. The Seminole State College Educational Foundation is proud to be associated with such dedicated professionals.”

The new residence hall will be built to the immediate north of the Roesler Residential Learning Center on the campus’ Marie Austin Drive. A three-story, 150-bed, 48,800 square-foot facility is being planned.

Lana Reynolds, vice president for institutional advancement, said there are items such as furnishings for the new residence hall which will not be covered in the bond financing.

“The SSC Educational Foundation will be leading the charge over the next few months to raise funds for this project as well as scholarships and other capital improvements. They will be calling on everyone who loves this institution to provide special gifts to continue the growth of the College,” Reynolds said.

A formal ground-breaking ceremony for the residence hall project and other campus construction projects will be held later this fall in conjunction with the College’s 75th anniversary celebration.

Contact: Lana Reynolds, SSC vice president of institutional advancement, 405.382.9218