Oklahoma State University acquires property for athletic village

Saturday, January 7th 2006, 12:44 pm
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma State University has acquired at least two apartment complexes and several rental properties for a proposed athletic village at its Stillwater campus.

The properties, acquired on Wednesday from Brendon and Elizabeth Bond, represent 40 percent of the total value of property in the neighborhood north of Boone Pickens Stadium where the complex will be located, OSU officials said.

The Bonds also sold several parcels in another neighborhood OSU wants to acquire within the next several years for undetermined athletic construction projects.

The total purchase price was not reflected in land records. OSU officials said the Bonds asked to keep the amount confidential.

It was the first purchase since controversy erupted in November about OSU's plan. A consulting company delivered a letter of OSU's intent and later warned at a public meeting that owners must sell by June 1 or face possible condemnation proceedings.

School officials have since apologized and said they plan to be ``more than fair'' financially, especially to people in owner-occupied homes.

OSU spokesman Gary Shutt said the school has made ``20 to 30'' offers to other owners in the two neighborhoods, although no other closings have taken place.

``In a lot of those cases, the owners have been very satisfied,'' Shutt said.

Emma Adler, 87, and her husband, Bill, 93, said they will take OSU's offer of $86,800 for their 966-square-foot house.

``They've been good to us,'' Emma Adler said. ``OSU hasn't hurt us; they just want the property. And if it helps OSU, it helps us, too.''

The Payne County assessor recently appraised the Adlers' home at $90,680 _ nearly $4,000 more than they accepted from OSU.

Emma Adler said OSU agreed to pay $86,800, which includes moving costs and a $14,400 ``longevity bonus'' _ $300 for each of the 48 years the Adlers owned their home.

Subtract those additions, and OSU's appraised value was $68,000, or $22,680 below the assessor's value.

Shutt questioned whether the assessor's estimate is based on the home's actual market value.

``Obviously, the county tries to put as much value on it as possible for tax purposes,'' he said.

County Assessor Jacquie Rose said her office recently performed the appraisal.

``Usually we're low. We can't keep up'' with property value increases, she said.

As with the Adlers, OSU is paying closing costs and the longevity bonus to every seller who occupies a home it buys, Shutt said.

``We want this to be as painless as possible for those people, and we recognize that this is not an easy thing,'' he said.