The Norman Transcript

March 28, 2014

Professor honored, shelters discussed

By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — It was a musical morning Thursday for the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents as Professor Irv Wagner brought everyone to their feet with the Oklahoma Fight Song performed on his trombone.

The board approved a resolution honoring Wagner during the meeting and recognizing the 45th anniversary of the OU Trombone Choir, which Wagner has been a part of the entire time.

Wagner also performed a portion of “I’ve Been Working On the Railroad” with spoons, incorporating his head as a place to sound the spoons.

“To say he’s a remarkable person is an understatement,” President David Boren said. “He’s a person of great passion and he’s a great ambassador, as well, for the University of Oklahoma.”

A recommendation naming the College of Law south oval drive the “Professor Frank and Edna Asper Elkouri Oval” was approved in honor of the couple’s contributions to OU law.

Boren said the two recently died, but their financial contributions to the OU College of Law were profound and will continue to have a lasting impact on students. The two made the largest one-time contributions in the history of the law school in 2011, giving a $6 million gift to support student scholarship programs in the OU College of Law.

The board also approved an agenda item dealing with general, limited and special obligation bonds to put in motion a possible issuance of approximately $38 million from the Oklahoma legislature. Some of the money, if issued, would go toward storm shelters on OU’s campus.

“This reflects a long worry that I’ve had, that several members of the regents have had over the years and the university and community have had over the years, and that is protection of our students from severe storms and tornadoes,” Boren said.

Remembering a conversation he had with former meteorologist Gary England, Boren was discussing how likely the university was to be in the path of a tornado. In the past, there has been two EF-5 tornadoes about six or seven miles away from the university, Boren said.

“When you’re this close to an area that’s been struck this many times, you have to consider yourself to be vulnerable,” Boren remembered England said.

The legislature has a period of 45 calendar days from the date the information is communicated to put together and pass a concurrent resolution disapproving the proposed $38 million issuance. If the resolution does not receive a majority of votes by the 45th day, the proposed issuance will be approved by the legislature.

Boren said he had the opportunity to talk to some legislatures and they saw no problem with its approval.

The storm shelters would account for $12 million of the proposed $38 million. The rest would be allocated to the following areas:

· Gittinger Hall renovation and improvements, $5 million

· Kaufman Hall renovations and improvements, $5 million

· Campus streets and drives, $4 million

· Library storage facility, $4 million

· Utility system capital projects, $3.5 million

· Real property acquisitions, $1.5 million

· Technology infrastructure, $3 million

The next regular meeting of the OU Board of Regents is scheduled for May 8 and 9 in Norman.

Jessica Bruha


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