The OBU Board of Trustees approved a $64.9 million operating budget for the 2014-15 academic year, celebrated the sixth consecutive year of enrollment growth and approved the construction of two new residential buildings during their fall semester meeting on the OBU campus in Shawnee Oct. 4.
The new operating budget will include a projected distribution of $23.9 million in scholarships for the 2014-15 academic year, according to Randy L. Smith, OBU executive vice president for business and administrative services. The projection is a $2.2 million increase over OBU's anticipated 2013-14 aid distribution of $21.7 million.
"This fall, 2,097 students chose OBU, an increase of 118 students over last fall and the largest enrollment since 1999," President David W. Whitlock told trustees. "We set the record for the largest freshman class in OBU history with 580 new freshman students this year."
To accommodate increasing enrollment, board members approved the construction of buildings three and four in the residential village on the north side of Macarthur at a cost of$15 million. Building three will house 46 students in 12 apartment units and building four will house 162 students in suite style rooms. Construction will include removing and recycling houses along Frank Buck Drive, building new access roads, and constructing parking lots.
The Cargill Alumni Center, formerly the OBU president's house, will be renovated at a cost of $500,000 with funds provided by Dr. Robert L. and Sara Lou Cargill. The Cargill Center will be the official welcome center for OBU alumni and the future home of the office of university advancement.
Trustees approved a proposal to seek accreditation approval from the Higher Learning Commission to launch a master of arts in Christian studies with concentrations in Christian leadership and Christian apologetics and a master of arts in intercultural studies with an additional concentration in orality studies.
In other action, trustees approved OBU's 2014-15 annual objectives which are designed to accomplish the initiatives developed in the university's long-range strategic plan, OBU 2020.
Board members granted authority to negotiate the specific terms of a contract with Comcourse, an online course provider, to the president and executive officers with final contract approval by the executive committee.
Trustees approved tuition and fees for the 2014-15 academic year. OBU's tuition for full-time students will increase 3.88 percent from $19,830 for the current academic year to$20,600 for the 2014-15 academic year. The overall costs, which include tuition, fees, room and board, will increase by 3.96 percent, from $28,202 for 2013-14 to $29,320for 2014-15.
Members also granted authority to the executive committee to consider a study of the OBU athletic program to determine whether OBU should apply for membership in the NCAA.
Trustees approved the contracts of nine new faculty members: Ryan Meeks, instructor of music, director of bands; Tyler Welker, instructor of digital media arts; Paul Donnelly, assistant professor of sociology; Donna Young, assistant professor of English; Linda Goen, assistant professor of nursing; Dr. Susie Killingsworth, assistant professor of nursing; Dr. MingLiang Zhang, assistant professor of physics; and Lackshmi Viswanath, chemistry lecturer and lab stockroom manager; and Dr. Galen W. Jones, associate professor of church planting.
David Lawrence, chair of OBU's 28-member board of trustees, moderated the board's plenary session. Lawrence is pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Weatherford, Okla.
Board officers for the 2013-14 year were elected. They are Lawrence, chair; Jarrod Frie, Tulsa, Okla., vice chair; Trent Richey, Oklahoma City, Okla., secretary, and Nadine McPherson, Oklahoma City, treasurer.