Such partnering meets the needs of both town and gown — residents and students — “despite the fact that higher education institutions and many cities across the state have experienced decreased or flat budgets over the past five years,” the regents said in a statement.
The projects did not come as a result of a push by the regents, said Winchester, a former state representative and president of the business lobbying group Research Institute for Economic Development.
“We’ve always encouraged cooperation between the schools and the communities,” she said. “This was just a natural evolution. It’s just a good melding of resources with the cost of things today.”
Cooperation is a natural extension of the universities’ careful use of limited resources, said Richard Ogden, immediate past chairman of the Board of Regents and an Oklahoma City attorney.
“The Regional University System of Oklahoma continually seeks to be responsible stewards of funding through research grants, energy initiatives, reduced administrative expenses and information technology savings,” Ogden said. “By joining with our local communities to create mutlipurpose event centers, we are expanding our mission by investing wisely in our students, as well as the citizens who support us.”