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NEWS

Jan. 25, 2006

Regents Authorize Selection of Contractor for RSU Equestrian Center

Rogers State University's governing board has authorized the selection of a contractor to construct the university's new Equestrian Center.

The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents RSU's governing body this week approved a $909,000 contract with Murphy Builders of Tulsa to construct the facility. LWPB Architects of Oklahoma City was previously selected as the project's architectural firm.

When completed, the RSU Equestrian Center will house facilities for the RSU rodeo team and Bit by Bit, a cooperative program between RSU and Oologah-Talala Public Schools to promote physical and mental health for children and adults with disabilities through horseback riding. One of 11 certified equine therapy centers in Oklahoma, Bit By Bit is the only certified program in the state directly affiliated with a university.

The facility will include an expanded indoor arena; an improved mounting area to assist clients in mounting a horse; a classroom with one-way observational viewing for parents, students, and others; increased stall space and turn-out areas; storage and tack areas; an administrative office; a waiting area with two ADA-compliant restrooms; and other features. An outdoor arena is also planned.

In 2004, the Frank and Wanda Sanders Family Trust donated approximately 20 acres south of Oologah along U.S. 169 to be used for the equestrian center. Funding for construction was provided from university funds, bond funds and private donations. The RSU Foundation currently is engaged in a $2.1 million capital campaign to fund construction and develop an endowment for the program's operating expenses.

RSU currently operates equestrian facilities on its Claremore campus. The university's rapid growth since becoming a four-year university in 2000 has caused recent campus construction, including the RSU Student Apartments and the Stratton Taylor Library, to encroach on the current equestrian facilities. Moving the facilities off-campus would provide more opportunities for both the equestrian programs and for future campus expansion, university officials have said.