Along with the National Weather Center and the Radar Innovations Lab, the Water Innovative Research Center would be the third building on the Research Campus dedicated to a particular area of strength for the university, Hathaway said.
Having a dedicated facility for research not only attracts researchers to the university, he said, it also attracts interest from public agencies and private companies who are looking to partner with university researchers.
Several water-related programs already exist at OU. Among them is the WaTER Center, a part of the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science that works on water security issues in developing regions.
Also during the meeting, the board voted to authorize board Chairwoman Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes to appoint a search committee for a president at Cameron University.
Regents policy requires that the committee include Cameron students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the board.
The new president will replace current President Cindy Ross, who last week announced plans to retire this summer. Ross has headed up the university since 2002.