President’s house nearly move-in ready
Crusaders will have new neighbors next fall with the university president’s home scheduled to be move-in ready July 1.
The Randy O’Rear family is glad to be able to get settled and live on campus. Their family has moved three times in the past five years. The presidential home, located at 1032 University Drive, has been under construction since November. Despite abnormal weather – from cold, rainy and snow days – the building has continued on schedule.
President O’Rear said, “I’m looking forward to it. Julie is, too.” He said the two anticipate “being able to get out in the evenings and walk around the campus.”
The house is contracted by the university in an effort to save money, as
well as to be able to build it according to the decided plans well under the
Senior Vice President for Campus Planning and Support Services Edd Martin said, “We think we’re going to get it under that, but $800,000 is what we’ve got budgeted.”
The one-story home of 5,000 square feet of living space is smaller than the previous president’s home, which now serves as the university’s Alumni Center. This is mainly due to the amount of formal space once used in the Parker House. The residence will have about 8,000 total square feet, which include a three-car garage and a back patio with outdoor seating.
The O’Rears will also have a media room for the family to entertain university guests. It will include theater-like seating, a big screen TV and a Wii gaming system.
Martin said, “It’s set up for a less formal, more relaxed atmosphere, (so) that he can interact with our students better.”
Though the home is near the physical center of university owned property, Martin said the location choice was not intentionally across the street from the new apartment building, which is scheduled to be open for student housing in the fall.
While the house won’t be the center of campus from an “activities perspective,” it will provide opportunities for Cru who live in campus apartments to be neighborly.
O’Rear said, “The house, I think, is in a really good location in terms of offering some privacy and ability to get away a little bit.”
Not only is the house across the street from much of campus housing, it also provides a taste of the “wilderness.”
“You can go out the front door and have one effect, and go about the back door, andit’s just beautiful,” he said.
“You just kind of lose yourself back there in the beauty of Nolan Creek and the bluff.”
He said that their home will provide the balance of availability and privacy the family needs.
“So it’s kind of the best of both worlds,” he said. “It’s on campus, but … it is in a location where (our) family can still enjoy some privacy as well.”
The location provides an opportunity for community. Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life Donna Plank said, “They want to be connected to the campus. I know that’s important to them.”
Plank said the location will be beneficial for both the students and the O’Rears.
“I am glad there is something right across the street from them that’s (part of) campus” she said, “because if they were farther away … I think they would feel more disconnected.”
Plank said many students “don’t realize how much we have built and how much we have grown and how steady that building and growing has been.”
She said the administration is dedicated to progress.
“I think that’s the thing – the university has committed to and done a good job of trying to steadily build and grow the on-campus community.”