The University of Oklahoma is home to an undergraduate student body of more than 21,000 – and boasts a freshman-to-sophomore retention rate of more than 90 percent. Recognizing the significant GPA and retention benefits of an exceptional on-campus student housing program, the OU Housing and Food Services team proudly commits to a mission of bringing life to their students’ university experience. Conceived to create a vibrant residential experience in the southern sector of campus, Cross OU houses more than 1,200 students in four buildings featuring suite-style rooms.
As a residential college, this complex builds on the University’s vision to develop living-learning environments with a strong sense of community. Reinforcing this concept within Cross, each of the four buildings is branded with a unique visual identity designed to unify its residents and enhance their sense of connection with each other. Additionally, the complex integrates a living-learning component with a faculty-in-residence apartment in each building. The live-in faculty member has an instructional specialty aligned with the students housed in their building, further blending the academic and social experiences of residents.
Cross features a number of amenities designed to meet dual goals of appealing to the modern student and activating this sector of campus. With primary retail spaces lining the Asp Avenue corridor, the complex embraces urban mixed use on the exterior with a more traditional, collegiate sense of place on the quad interior. Spaces such as a shared community hall, living room “dens,” and a dining hall provide opportunities for both intentional and impromptu interaction between students and faculty. A black box theater, creator space, gym, and active learning classroom represent the University’s efforts to provide students with diverse tools to suit individual learning styles.
Built and financed through a public-private partnership with Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions, Provident Resources Group, and Oklahoma University, Cross represents an increasingly popular delivery method and the close collaboration required to make such a project successful. The design-build team includes JE Dunn Construction, Clark Nexsen, Studio Architecture, and Smith Roberts Baldischwiler Engineers. This project also included a 1,000 car parking deck.