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DCD Design Cost Data

Residential Colleges at the University of Oklahoma

Posted: March 4, 2019 | Projects

ADG, P.C. partnered with higher education design experts, KWK Architects, to design the first residential college in Oklahoma utilizing the “residential college” community model. The University’s two residential colleges are among the first in the United States.

Photo courtesy of Simon Hurst & David Cobb

The facilities, located south of the football stadium at a prominent intersection, opened for the 2017 fall semester with 600 upperclassmen (300 students in each college building). The new residential colleges are designed as living/learning spaces that provide students with a sense of community and identity within the larger university environment. 

Taking cues from the design of residential colleges at Yale and Oxford Universities, each building features a faculty master apartment and office, dormitories, seminar/conference rooms, lounges, study areas, libraries and dining rooms. The two residential colleges are joined at the center with communal dining areas and a storm shelter. Each college boasts a house motto, crest, athletic teams and colors — blue for Dunham College and red for Headington College.

The architectural design of the residential colleges was influenced by the Cherokee Gothic architectural style featured prominently throughout the campus. 

There are three main parts to each college: a living space, a learning place and, most importantly, a fellowship space. The design embodies the spirit and community of each college and includes dining and other areas that are usually part of the campus, but in this case are an integral part of the college, such as the library, a gym, and activities spaces. 

In many ways, the residential college is a microcosm of the campus. The residential floors offer a wide variety of room types that are enticing for freshman as well as upperclassmen. The attraction of a diverse, connected community has shown to positively impact recruitment. One of the design intents in this case was to increase student retention by building in opportunities for engagement, thus the fellowship spaces and live-in faculty masters’ apartments, which strengthen the attention on building communities of scholars and citizens.
The project team began the project by first creating a master plan for expanding student campus housing at the university. The team reviewed existing housing facilities, as well as available campus sites and near-campus housing, before surveying students to determine optimal rental prices, unit sizes, room configurations and desired amenities for the new residential colleges.

At the building dedication ceremony for the new Headington and Dunham residential colleges, University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren focused on the lasting community bonds that the new building would nurture. “I see this as a vibrant community, where attachments are made between students, faculty and the university itself. It’s one thing if you are a commuter student living off campus and another if you live in the heart of campus. You feel it beating. You are a part of it and it is a part of you.”


Building Envelope: Acme, United Commercial Cast Stone
Roofing: Berridge, Sika Sarnafil
Windows: Thermal Windows, Inc.
Entrances & Storefronts: Tubelite
Flooring: Armstrong, Crossville, Emser Tile, Lungarno, Mannington, Mohawk, Roca tile, Sika Floor
Interior: Anderson, Andus, American Olean, Corian, Florium, Laticrete, Marlite, Patcraft, Vitro Architectural Glass Sherwin Williams, US Ceramics, Wilsonart
Lighting: Manning, Tech, HE Williams, Barn Light Electric, Columbia, Portfolio, AFX, Neo-Ray, SSL, Sonneman, Tegan, Tom Dixon Lighting, Lumenpulse, Amerlux, Sure-lites
Elevators: Kone

Project Team

Architect & Civil Engineer
920 W. Main Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73106

Design Architect
KWK Architects
103 W. Lockwood Avenue, #218
Saint Louis, MO 63119

Structural Engineer 
Wallace Engineering
410 N. Walnut Avenue, # 200
Oklahoma City, OK 73104

Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
13431 Broadway Ext,  #101
Oklahoma City, OK 73114

General Contractor & Cost Estimator
J.E. Dunn Construction
4 E. Sheridan Avenue, #200
Oklahoma City, OK 73104

Date Bid: Oct 2015
Construction Period: Nov 2015 to Aug 2017          
Total Square Feet: 261,562
Site: 7 acres.
Number of Buildings: Three.

Building Sizes: Basement, 9,018; first floor, 67,368; second floor, 46,318; third floor, 46,286; fourth floor, 46,286; fifth floor, 46,286; total, 261,562 square feet.  
Building Height: Basement, 12′; first floor, 13′4″; second floor, 12′; each additional floor, 10′8 ″; total, 69′4″.  
Basic Construction Type: New.
Foundation: Pier & grade beam. 
Exterior Walls: Brick.
Roof: Metal. 
Floors: Concrete. 
Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.

View full project details in the March-April 2019 issue of DCD