Oral Roberts University broke ground on its new library and Holy Spirit Research Center Wednesday.
This is the latest step in a massive expansion project on campus that the administration said is a result of unprecedented student growth over the last several years.
School leaders said if you stop by campus over the next two years, please excuse the mess as ORU is on a mission to meet the needs of its largest student body to date.
"For the 13th consecutive year, Oral Roberts University (ORU) has announced an increase in enrollment for its incoming fall class. ORU officially welcomed 4,753 students for the Fall 2021 semester, an increase from 4,303 in 2020. With an over 10 percent surge in student enrollment, this marks the largest year-over-year recorded percentage growth at ORU in over 25 years. These historic numbers also include ORU’s largest classes ever both for graduate enrollment and online enrollment," said the university.
"Einstein said, 'The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library," said Dr. Kathaleen Reid-Martinez, Provost and Chief Academic Officer.
Oral Roberts University is breaking ground on the J.D. McKean Library, a place where students will one day break open their books and their minds to a vast wealth of knowledge.
Dr. Reid-Martinez said in Einstein's time, the library was the primary location for information but considers the need for such a space in a technology savvy society.
"It's not just the volumes of information alone that sit on the shelves but rather it's where that information will take our students," said Dr. Reid-Martinez.
She said university libraries represent the fusion of technology and knowledge.
"We envision a day when this building will help fan the flames of inspiration, collaboration, cross discipline and interaction," said Dr. Reid-Martinez.
The library will offer students more resources and technology, including an expanded digital database, multimedia stations, and several study areas. It'll also house ORU's Holy Spirit Research Center.
"The HSRC, started in 1962, now houses one of the largest and most comprehensive Pentecostal-Charismatic and Holy Spirit collections in the world," said ORU.
"Personally, I've spent a lot of hours in the library. [It's] definitely, a place that has made me into the student that I am today," said Caleb Drummond, Student Body VP. "Even when we were working on our election campaign, a lot of our ideas, a lot of the things we came up with, we did it in the library so it's definitely the heart of the campus and I am so excited for the new things that students are gonna be able to see."
"We feel as if like whenever the world is advancing, we should advance as well," said Atalie Winfred, Student Body President. "And so, by updating new things or by updating things and making it newer and fresh, we're just we're receptive of that.
ORU has added several new facilities since 2015, including the Global Learning Center, an advanced technology space, the Nursing and Engineering Complex, the Stovall Center for Entrepreneurship, and Niko Njotorahardjo Hall, an apartment-style residence for ORU students.
The school continues its revitalization efforts. Its new library is the second project in a series of four new buildings on campus.
"All of our construction being done on campus is being done by donor support only and we're building every building without any indebtedness whatsoever," said Dr. William Wilson, ORU President.
ORU's new Welcome Center is already under construction, and plans are being made for a new Media Arts Center and a new Athletics Center.
Dr. Wilson said they're taking old library space and renovating it into a new center for global leadership.