Plans to connect walking trails in northern Ardmore may be underway soon. 

The University of Southern Oklahoma and the Ardmore Parks and Recreation Department are planning to create walking trails connecting Ardmore Regional Park, Ardmore City Schools and UCSO. UCSO Interim CEO Peggy Maher said the idea grew out of the need for a path between the center’s old and new locations. 

“We want it to get our students from one place to another, Parks and Recreation wants it so that walkers and cyclists will go out to the trails, and Ardmore wants it because their students may have concurrent classes up here,” Maher said. 

The trails would be about six feet wide. Maher said the plan is to connect the concrete trail that starts in Ardmore Regional Park to the university center. She said the trails would be a practical addition as well as a way to improve students’ physical and mental health. 

“There are students who are dropped off, and so they may have a class in both buildings, but have no transportation to get from one to the other,” Maher said. 

Currently, students walk through unpaved areas or along the street. Maher said the university center plans to start on phase one of the plan next year. 

“If you look at a map, the trail runs all the way from Regional Park to Veterans Boulevard and ends at Mt. Washington Road, but it branches off and comes to the north side of the middle school,” Maher said. 

The Ardmore City Schools board of education approved the construction during a meeting last week. 

If Parks and Recreation can extend the trail farther, then the university center will build walking trails to meet them, giving the area an even bigger network of walking trails. 

“There are a lot of people who walk that trail, and for cyclists that’s not a very long distance,” Maher said. “We also have long-distance runners.”

Phase two would involve creating a gravel trail specifically meant for distance runners and cyclists that would lead through wooded areas. 

“Parks and Recreation would build it, but we may help them write grants and things to do it,” Maher said. 

Maher said there’s a chance the trails could extend even farther north in the future and connect with the Ardmore Institute of Health’s walking trails, however there are no concrete plans to do so yet.