Plans to move OCU's law school downtown to 900 W. Main will not move forward. Fred Jones Companies owns the 189,000-square-foot former manufacturing building, which was the subject of a letter of intent signed by the owner and OCU in November 2009.
The cost of the extensive renovations needed before OCU Law could move in was a factor in the decision.
"We believe our budget dollars and fundraising efforts should focus on creating scholarships for our students, and recruiting and retaining excellent faculty at this time," said OCU's new president, Robert Henry. "Fred Jones Companies provided us an exciting opportunity and we appreciate all they did."
Henry's decision garnered the support of former president Tom McDaniel, now an OCU chancellor.
"Many of our students and their families are struggling to meet the financial requirements of a great college education. President Henry is right on target in making student scholarships and faculty needs our first priority," McDaniel said.
While OCU officials feel it is the best interest of students, the decision is disappointing to some area residents. Hope that revitalization of the building would jump-start development on downtown's west side will remain speculation for now.
"We are disappointed to be missing this opportunity to partner with OCU on this important project," Fred Hall, chairman of Fred Jones Companies, said. "We are proud of our historic building and the possibilities it provides in the continuing downtown renaissance."
OCU may soon kiss frog on west side of Downtown