Since occupying its current building in 2017, the University Center of Southern Oklahoma has had its eyes on expansion.
UCSO is in preliminary talks on expanding its campus and hopes to add a new building by next school year.
UCSO President Peggy Maher says the center has not begun to raise the money for the new building but has for the planning of building it.
“This building was designed to be added on to,” Maher said. “It wouldn’t be a part of the building but it would be closely attached.”
When the current UCSO building was built, the plan included space for additional buildings.
UCSO currently has a lease with Ardmore City Schools, which is about to run out. The center does not have enough space to host all of its classes in the current building, and it uses the back of the Ardmore City Schools building for office space and classrooms.
The new building will have several new features which are lacking in the current building including: More office space, a cafeteria and a bigger area for a student lounge.
“What I would love is to have a local cafe or some kind of entity branch out and lease from us,” Maher said. “We really don’t want the restaurant, we want to lease out the space and have someone else run it.”
The new building will cost an estimated $3-4 million. The existing building cost $16 million.
Members of the USCO board are brainstorming fundraising ideas for the new building, including revisiting the Over the Edge fundraiser it held this summer in downtown Ardmore.
Included in the new building would be office space to rent for educational purposes, which would help benefit the community, Maher said.
Also in discussion is adding dorm areas and running a child care center, but the talks are in the preliminary stages.
“We discussed bringing dorms, the city would love for the young people to move in,” Maher said. “That is an important work force, it’s good for retail and it’s good for the atmosphere to have young people staying and moving here.”