ARKADELPHIA, Ark.—Groundbreaking for Ouachita Baptist University’s Student Village construction project highlighted the quarterly meeting of Ouachita’s board of trustees Sept. 11 on the university campus.
The $45 million construction project, which also will include a new campus entrance, pedestrian bridge and other enhancements, “will be symbolic of the bridge that keeps us all together across generations,” declared Ouachita President Rex M. Horne Jr.
North Campus Groundbreaking Prayer Circle
PRAYER CIRCLE Mike Vinson, chairman of Ouachita’s board of trustees; leads a prayer circle of dedication to conclude the Sept. 11 groundbreaking ceremony for Ouachita’s Student Village construction project. (OBU photo by Danny Brown)
The inaugural named house in the 17-house Student Village complex will be named in honor of Dr. Bob L. Gosser Sr., a 1956 OBU alumnus, and his wife, Marianne, a 1955 OBU graduate. The recognition was made possible through gifts from the Gossers’ children and their spouses, Jenny Turner, Bobby and Donna Gosser, John and Glenda Gosser, Leigh Anna and Jonathan Askins, and April and Jeff Weeks.
“The generosity and dedication of the Gosser family is emblematic of the generosity and dedication of so many of you who are gathered here,” Dr. Horne told the crowd.
Describing the groundbreaking celebration as a “most historic day,” Horne added that “the completion of this project will simply lead us to more projects” designed to “enlarge the scope of Ouachita’s alumni, the education that is gained here and the Christian values that are fostered here.”
OBU Student Senate President Becca Woodall, a senior from Bryant, Ark., told groundbreaking participants, “This foundation is so much more than the ground and the construction that’s going on behind us. It’s Christ and it’s Christ’s legacy in the people who have built a school that impacts lives for the better every day.”
“Now that many seeds have been planted, it’s time to watch them grow,” reflected Gary Clements of Clements and Associates Architecture, Inc., of North Little Rock.
Explaining that the Student Village is designed to “provide a special sense of place and opportunity for student activities for generations to come,” Clements said he is looking forward to seeing the construction process “turn the three-dimensional dream into reality.”
General contractor Gus Vratsinas, president of VCC, Inc., in Little Rock, emphasized that “if you work together, you can make things happen,” adding that “we look forward to a bright future here at OBU.”
The brief ceremony, which featured a steel construction beam for participants to sign, concluded with a prayer circle of dedication led by Mike Vinson, Ouachita’s trustee board chairman.
Phase one of the Student Village is scheduled for completion in December 2009, with phase two expected to be completed by August 2010. The state-of-the-art student housing complex will feature residential facilities for more than 520 students and will replace more than one-third of Ouachita’s current residence hall facilities.
Prior to the ceremony, trustees toured the campus’ new entrance boulevard which currently is under construction.
Architect Burt Taggart of Little Rock told trustees the project will feature a two-way street with a 15-foot wide boulevard in the center and natural foliage along each edge.
“It’s the front yard of the university; the foyer where people will form first impressions,” Taggart said. “We tried to create an environment to enhance and enrich the natural characteristics of the environment here.”
North Campus Groundbreaking
CAMPUS CELEBRATION Ouachita Baptist University officials and other participants sign a steel construction beam as part of a Sept. 11 groundbreaking ceremony for Ouachita’s Student Village housing complex. Program participants include (from left): Ouachita President Rex M. Horne, Jr.; general contractor Gus Vratsinas, president of VCC, Inc.; Gary Clements, president of Clements and Associates Architecture, Inc.; Mike Vinson, chairman of Ouachita’s board of trustees; Becca Woodall, president of Ouachita’s Student Senate; and Brett Powell, vice president for administrative services. (OBU photo by Danny Brown)
by Trennis Henderson