Building Toward the Future

New Human Sciences wing transforming academic opportunities

College of Human Sciences Human Sciences Expansion

The new wing for the College of Human Sciences took shape over the summer with steel beams rising up from the earth revealing the skeleton of the 76,700-square-foot addition. As temperatures rose, so did stairs and support girders.

As part of a construction tradition, the final beam lowered into place was bright orange and filled with signatures, including OSU President Burns Hargis and children from the Human Sciences Child Development Lab.

The expansion is expected to open within a year's time and will transform one of the oldest academic units at Oklahoma State University. The enhanced facility will showcase departments and programs with new labs, kitchens, dining spaces and galleries that feature student, industry and faculty projects.

"It's easy to see the physical progress of the building, but it is even more exciting to see the strides we've made with our friends, alumni and corporate partners to fund this project," says Dean Stephan Wilson. "You can begin to see the synergy the new wing will add to all of our programs when you have partners like SONIC, the Hal Smith Restaurant Group, the Cleo L. Craig Foundation and the E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation, and so many more committed to our vision."

In the spring, the Hal Smith Restaurant Group was recognized at a Chef Series event for its pledge to name a demonstration classroom. HSRG's chief operations officer, Hank Kraft, sees this as a partnership with OSU that allows both entities to promote what they stand for.

"We have recruited from OSU for the past 15 years and employ more than 20 alumni from the School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration," Kraft says. "We were given the opportunity to invest in the future growth of the program and its students, who are the future of our company as well."

To date, more than 31 individuals, groups and corporations have committed at least $25,000 each to the project with six pledging $1 million or more.

Jack Betts represents a group of about 30 alumni and friends who make up the Human Sciences Partners Group, which advocates the success of the college through a variety of activities, including networking and mentoring students. The group has pledged $100,000 to name a conference room inside the Partner's Suite, a dynamic space that will allow engagement of students and faculty partnering with groups such as industry professionals, United Way agencies, Cooperative Extension, faith communities, etc.

"With all the new growth the College is experiencing, the new wing is not a luxury, it's essential," says Betts, who points out that the original building held about 600 students and now there are over 2,000. "The College is an outstanding college and has some of the best students in their field. The College has growing pains, and it is unacceptable to me to do nothing about it. If we were to do nothing, we would be depriving students the quality education they deserve."

Longtime donor and 1966 School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration graduate Bryan Close agrees.

"The College of Human Sciences offers students hands-on learning that sets them apart from their peers. It's what makes the programs like Hotel and Restaurant Administration exceptional and the education they receive from OSU unique," he says. "I love seeing the students and the College succeed."

Donor support will also impact the exterior of the College of Human Sciences, including a new outdoor entry, which will be known as the SONIC Drive-in Plaza, and the Return to Natureplayground for the Child Development Lab, made possible by the Cleo L. Craig Foundation.

The entire College of Human Sciences project is expected to cost around $25 million and will bring new opportunities for its students. A large-capacity exhibit hall and a modern gallery will provide much-needed space for apparel design productions, seminars and student and faculty displays, poster presentations and various exhibits. The public-private office suite and virtual reality laboratories will be used to facilitate industry collaborations and community engagement. New dining spaces and large open areas will allow students to gather and collaborate. The enhanced Human Sciences building will expand opportunities for the campus and greater communities to experience a variety of services and programs.

Taylor's Dining Room, the hospitality program's fine-dining lab, will be relocated and given a prominent spot adjacent to the Great Hall, increasing its visibility and accessibility. Next door, the Center for Beverage Education will provide students and faculty with a new avenue for beverage and food experimentation, discovery and research and create a private meeting place for up to 20 guests. The exhibit hall will be located to the south of the Great Hall and in close proximity to many of the new laboratories. It will facilitate some of the College's largest classes and provide much- needed space for seminars, workshops and other activities.

Students are at the center of this transformation, and every detail is planned to ensure OSU is able to provide them the best education possible. Each new space will enable programs to better serve students and push the boundaries of cross-discipline educational discovery in the College of Human Sciences.

"The School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration is one of the oldest hospitality programs in the country, and to maintain a position of prominence among the elite programs, we need the facilities that our expansion is providing. I am grateful that President Hargis and the University leadership have recognized the importance of our program. My hope is that through these new facilities, we can attract more interest in the program among the OSU student body and attract interest in our program from the hospitality industry worldwide." Steve Jorns, longtime supporter and 1971 graduate of the School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration

How the building will impact each department

School of Hotel & Restaurant Administration
Relocating the hospitality program and its kitchen and dining labs to premier spaces in the new wing will provide students with a physical setting that represents the high-caliber of the academic program. To be "cutting edge" in the hospitality industry, students need to experience what types of equipment, procedures and practices are required in their learning environment.

Human Development & Family Science
Integrated lab environments in the renovated space will improve research experiences for graduate students. The building project will also increase the capabilities of the department's child development laboratory and its counseling and family service-based programs, enhancing its offerings in marriage and family therapy and early childhood education, impacting families and young children.

Design, Housing & Merchandising
New lab spaces will enable teaching and learning of leading trends and issues in merchandising, apparel and interior design. Display spaces prominently featured in the existing and new wing of the building will feature student work to the campus and the broader public.

Nutritional Sciences
Nutritional Sciences has some of the most sought-after graduates, faculty and state-of-the-art equipment. However, to keep the department's research capabilities among the top in the country, state-of-the-art space to support its research activities is required. For example, renovated lab space would allow researchers in the cell culture laboratory to create cell samples and test them in one location rather than transporting the delicate, temperature-sensitive cells from one laboratory to another, which can result in contamination and cell destruction.


The wing's northern terrace would offer students working in the adjacent Taylor's Dining Room experiential learning opportunities in an outdoor dining lab setting. This covered space will provide a wonderful seasonal dining option on campus with convenient access along Monroe Street that will engage the public and invite visitors to experience the facility.