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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Oakland University breaks ground for $30M student housing facility
     Rochester, Mich. – Oakland University administrators, faculty, staff, students and supporters on Tuesday participated in a ceremonial launch of construction on a more than 500-bed student housing complex slated to open in August of 2014.
From left, Graeme Harper, dean of The Honors College; Michael Kramer, chair of OU Board of Trustees; Gary Russi, president of Oakland University; Mary Beth Snyder, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management; Jim Zentmeyer, director of University Housing; Samantha Wolf, president of the OU Student Congress; Abuhassanali Young, student in University Housing; and Jessica Drogowski, student liaison to the OU Board of Trustees.
      The $30 million facility is being built in response to steady student enrollment growth over the last 15 years running – growth that has fueled a 37 percent increase in student housing rental agreements over the last four years alone.

     Greater availability of on-campus living is expected to enhance both the academic and extracurricular experience of Oakland's students. Freshmen and sophomores living in the new facility will have access to a small cafe and space for student meetings and private and group studying. The building will also become the new home of OU's respected Honors College.

     "By investing in our students' academic and campus experience with projects like the new housing complex, we are creating a total campus community – a community that our students will remember as their home and their foundation for success," said Oakland University President Gary Russi.

     Director of Housing Jim Zentmeyer added that expanded housing on campus will have a still greater impact, particularly on a personal and social level.

     "Our residential students looked in the mirror, looked at their friends, and they saw changed lives as a result of living on campus. They saw acceptance, they saw compassion, they saw mutual reinforcement and inclusion, and they experienced a sense of family that helped to carry them through this most dynamic time in their lives," he explained.

     "Because they value this home environment so highly, they wanted to share the intimate Golden Grizzly experience with as many others as they could."

     Maintaining a focus on energy efficient and environmentally friendly design, the university's Board of Trustees asked that administrators pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the new housing facility. Oakland has also incorporated these principles in the design of its recently opened Human Health Building, as well as its 127,000-square-foot Engineering Center, which is currently under construction.

     Tuesday's groundbreaking represented a important part of a watershed week for Oakland, which on Friday will host a ground breaking for a 151-foot carillon tower generously donated by longtime university benefactors Hugh and Nancy Elliott. These and a number of additional infrastructure projects slated to be complete in the fall of 2014 are designed to keep pace with a growing student population that is expected to top 20,000 in the near future.

     To learn more about the growing number of academic and community outreach programs Oakland University offers, visit

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Oakland University is a doctoral, research-intensive university located in Oakland County, Michigan. The university has 139 bachelor's degree programs and 127 graduate degree and certificate programs. Dedicated to delivering a distinctive undergraduate experience that is complemented by the strength of its graduate offerings and research accomplishments, Oakland University is organized into the College of Arts and Sciences, the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and the Schools of Business Administration, Education and Human Services, Engineering and Computer Science, Health Sciences, Nursing and The Honors College. Visit Oakland University on the Web at