In the last 11 years, ORU has seen steady enrollment growth. To accommodate the increase of students, the university built its newest dorm in 43 years.
On Feb. 14, 2018, during chapel service, President Wilson announced the turning of Claudius and EMR into new freshman dorms and the initial process of a new dorm.
President Wilson, the Board of Trustees and others broke ground for the new housing on April 18, 2018. On a tight schedule, student leaders were not able to move into dorms until student move-in day. But the wait proved worth it, as there now stands broad and large between Christ’s Chapel and Howard Auditorium, the Niko Njotorahardjo Hall.
Much like the ONEOK Sports Complex and Global Learning Center, Niko Hall was funded entirely by donors and built completely debt-free as part of the 50th Anniversary Comprehensive Campaign. No tuition dollars were used to build the new facilities.
“Several parts of the new dorm, including the dorm itself, bear the names of donors who have generously given to honor someone, in memory of someone, or simply to be part of an exciting new project at ORU,” said Director of University Relations Stephanie Hill.
Donors were given the chance to contribute various amounts to name the spaces inside and outside of the building, including the lobby, an entire floor, and individual apartment, the courtyard and the entire building—which Pastor Niko Njotorahardjo was able to do.
Pastor Niko is a member of the Board of Reference, a group that supports the university’s vision and mission, and is the senior pastor of Gereja Bethel in Indonesia. The dorm is dedicated to his ministry as “a leading apostolic voice of the Third Pentecost,” as the lobby wall reads.
Niko Hall offers dorm and apartment life with three floors for men and four floors for women. Each apartment is equipped with a washer and dryer, a living and dining area, plus a kitchen with a full stove, sink and fridge. Each apartment rooms up to four students with two students in each sleeping area.
While there is no gym or vending machines, the fourth floor apartment dorms have a community bathroom, a large kitchen in the alcove and a laundry space. At the end of each floor, there is an alcove surrounded by windows that give 180-degree views over-looking the campus.
Another change is the new community meeting time at 10 p.m. on Mondays for the Niko residents, an hour earlier than other halls.
“It’s because we are a nontraditional floor. That means we have students who are past the age or typical age for college,” said Currica Clark, a senior psychology major and RA in Niko. “Students generally go to bed earlier because they have earlier days, and some of our students are grad students which means that they work and adult schedules as opposed to what the general college population would have.”
Each sleeping area is equipped with beds built into the wall, two desks and two wardrobes. The bunks were designed for storage space around the beds—unlike in other campus dorms—so students are learning how to optimize the living space.
“[The dorm] is not really conducive to the [storage] bins that you’d have,” said Jasmine Taylor, a junior worship arts major. “You really have to adjust and be creative with where you put your stuff. It’s making me have to relearn how to downsize.”
As they are in other campus dorms, low-flow showerheads are installed to conserve water usage. However, many students have experienced issues with cold water and weak pressure.
Although there have been some follow-up maintenance issues, as to be expected with a new building, students are happy with their new dorm life and growing more accustomed to adulthood.
“I really enjoy living in the new dorm. I get to pretend playing adult, and it’s a really good transition, especially being juniors,” said Taylor. “You kind of get a feel for what it will be like once we’re out of college.”
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt will be attending a ribbon-cutting for Niko Hall on Sept. 20 after chapel.
Photo by Matthew Simonson