, Muskogee, OK

October 10, 2012

NSU students, staff offer visions of future

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— TAHLEQUAH — People at Northeastern State University tend to agree that Seminary Hall should stay, but Grand Avenue must go.

NSU students, staff and faculty members shared such opinions Tuesday during a forum to help the university with a long-range master plan. Tahlequah city leaders and residents shared their opinions at a Monday night forum. NSU students gave their opinions during informal meal-time visits Tuesday.

An open house and forum for NSU Muskogee will be held at 9 a.m. today in the administration building’s room 148 on the Muskogee campus, 2400 W. Shawnee Bypass. An open house and forum will be held at 6 p.m. today at the NSU Broken Arrow campus.

Officials with Smithgroup JJR Behavioral Consulting of Ann Arbor, Mich., are leading the forums. Participants in Tuesday afternoon’s forum divided into groups and pored over Tahlequah campus maps, deciding which buildings, roads or other features should be preserved, enhanced or transformed (torn down).

Members of almost all the groups said they want to preserve historic structures on campus, particularly Seminary Hall, the campus landmark that dates to 1889.

Dr. Amy Aldridge Sanford, department director of communications studies, theater and art, agreed the landmark is worthy of preservation.

“But Seminary hall needs a lot of work,” Sanford said, citing air conditioning, heating and carpeting among its problems.

NSU Library Technical Services Director Linda West said her group agreed Grand Avenue, a Tahlequah street that cuts through campus, should be closed. She said the group felt there was too much traffic, causing a safety hazard for pedestrians crossing the street. She said some group members suggested a pedestrian overpass or tunnel across Grand.

At Monday’s session, Barbara Cook, NSU director of community and government relations, said she would like to see “lighting in the parking lots and better sidewalks.”

“The new North End District has just bloomed over the past four years, and a lot of the students walk down there from campus to get something to eat,” Cook said. “I’d just like to see a better connection and better lighting, which should be an easy fix.”

Smithgroup Principal Campus Planner Neal E. Kessler said the group will compile comments from the forums and return in January with its findings. He said the process of forming a master plan would take about 15 to 16 months.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or

If you go

WHAT: Northeastern State University Open House and Master Plan Forum.

WHEN: 9 a.m. today.

WHERE: Administration Building, room 148, NSU Muskogee campus, 2400 W. Shawnee Bypass.

•   •   •

WHAT: NSU Broken Arrow Campus Open House and Master Plan Forum.

WHEN: 6 p.m. today.

WHERE: Annex of Administrative Services, NSU Broken Arrow Campus, 3100 W. New Orleans.