Students move into new GOPO Student Housing

It has been long anticipated, but with many students moving into the OSUIT Grand Old Post Office Student Housing last week, Okmulgee is one major step closer to becoming a true college town. We now turn our attention to helping them acclimate to their new surroundings. 

Q. Dr. Path, it’s so exciting to see people living in the Grand Old Post Office once again. Was their move in successful?

A. As I told the crowd assembled during the GOPO Grand Opening Ceremony, this project took three years. Approximately, one year in visioning/procuring, one year in designing/planning, and one year in renovation/construction. Our original plan was to have the facility operational by the beginning of the fall semester 2017, but when it became obvious to all of us that this timeline was unrealistic, we gave ourselves an additional semester. It was more important to us to have the building “done right” rather than “done fast.” So, the decision was made halfway through the design phase to have the building ready for students to move into by the beginning of the spring semester 2018. Not only did this allow us adequate construction time to deal with any unforeseeable issues that always seem to arise with a renovation of a historic building, it created the opportunity for OSUIT to have a “soft opening” for this innovative facility. 

Most students begin their college career in the fall semester, and if they are renting an apartment, they lock into a yearlong contract at that time. This means fewer students are available to lease an apartment in the spring or summer because they are already “locked in” to a lease. 

This soft opening is allowing us the opportunity to launch the operational phase of the GOPO project without the building being fully occupied, giving us the chance to deal with any unexpected management or maintenance issues with a smaller population of residents. We consider this first semester as a “shakedown” of all processes and procedures before the building is fully occupied in the fall semester 2018. 

We’re off to a good start. Thirty-one OSUIT students now call the GOPO their home, with many more likely to join them next September. These initial students are the real trailblazers. Their experiences will influence the decisions of others to live in downtown housing. The feedback they will provide us will be invaluable to OSUIT and our partners.

I’d like to thank the Roger Brooks Task Force and others for greeting new GOPO residents last week and assisting them as they moved their furniture and other belongings into the building. Also, thanks to Mabrey Bank, Arvest Bank, and First Family Federal Credit Union for providing hospitality meals for our students as they were getting settled in to their new apartments. These are all friendly gestures that say “welcome to the neighborhood.” Your thoughtful actions really helped make a great first impression on our new downtown residents.

It’s really quite evident that Okmulgee is well on its way to becoming a full-fledged “college town.” As always, your questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Please continue to send them to


Dr. Bill R. Path is president of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology and board member of Okmulgee Main Street Inc. 

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