Response to OSU latest Press Release

January, 27, 2006. Originally scheduled for Dec. 2. Presentation of the OSU master plan has been postponed and will now be presented on Jan. 27.

Time has been scheduled at this meeting for a designated spokesman to present concerns of property owners to the Regents.

The Board will VOTE on approval on this date! – not just discuss (Jan. 27)

In the OSU Press release regarding postponing the Master Plan presentation to the board of regents, it seems Mr. Schmidly has just come up with a brilliant idea: that of making sure the community and university family understands “the plan”.

Why didn’t he consider this before he blindsided the City, homeowners and citizens, forcing them to react to revenue loss, streets closings, and the threat of eminent domain. Why has he waited until now to discuss “the plan” with the Stillwater City Manager, Mayor, County commissioner and superintendent of schools?

Mr. Schmidly states that there have been 50 public forums regarding “the plan”. I would like to know how the “public” was informed of these meetings so that they could have attended these forums.

Regarding Stakeholders: Were ALL stakeholders present at the majority of meetings to decide on “the plan”? Were ALL stakeholders aware of “the plan” in its present form? Or did many of them believe “the plan” only included properties south of McElroy, until they read the Stillwater Newspress on Nov. 5, 2005?

Locating the athletic village to the north OR to the west, would keep it directly connected to the current Athletic facilities. Building to the West, would require relocation of research fields. The University is hesitant to move these. However, the University has no reservations about destroying homes north of the campus.

How will the athletic village add more jobs to the economy of Stillwater; more coaches? trainers? maintenance workers? Or what? Do more facilities = more jobs?

If we have $500 million of anticipated construction for academics and athletic facilities over the next decade, it seems to me that the proposed athletic village will consume most of that.

It is interesting that we are finally being told that Mr. Schmidly DOES think about academics, and we are now hearing that there are some facilities related to academia being considered. I do not see any of these academic facilities on the proposed master plan.

I have heard the offer made to the Stillwater schools concerning tax loss. Apparently, OSU offers to compensate Stillwater Schools for three years loss. (Will this be taken from the $400,000.00 that the City of Stillwater gives OSU from our use tax annually?) What about Vo-Tech and other tax loss?

As to the statement that most of the residents in “the plan” area will relocate in Stillwater, think again. Most renters are OSU students who will eventually be forced into University housing. Those living in their homes are talking of possible moves to towns close to their children, many are talking about moving outside the city to smaller communities, and some are planning to move out of the state. Most do not feel they can afford to relocate in Stillwater with the offer they are receiving in “fair market” price; and do not want to incur the increase in taxes due to “the plan”.

Somehow, the term “VOLUNTARY” used so often by OSU, is insulting to the property owner. How is it voluntary when a property owner is intimidated into selling his property for an undervalued price; and if he does not agree to the so-called “fair market” price, he is forced to accept it because of eminent domain? In no way is it voluntary as far as the property owners are concerned.

And the amazing thing to me is that those representing OSU Foundation, and other OSU entities, can actually say with a straight face that they have been “so open” in all of this when so many citizens have perceived it as covert and deceptive.

Ann Williams

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8 Responses to Response to OSU latest Press Release

  1. Anonymous says:

    Aha, now I am beginning to see the picture. Apparently the OSU Athletic department think our football players are wimps. (I don’t think that at all). Why else does the Athletic dept. think the athletes need an indoor, climate controled practice field? Does that mean we will enclose the stadium (dig deep donors) and schedule games only with teams having controlled temperature facilities? I don’t think so.

    Perhaps one gets what one expects. Could we analyze just what it is that made our guys play really great football in the 1st 1/2 of the TX. game and the entire TX. Tech game, yet can’t keep that level of play going? Is that due to lack of facilities?

  2. Marion Agnew says:

    “Understanding the plan” is not the same as “thinking the plan is a good idea.”

    I understand the plan — and I still think it’s bad. The expansion plan represents extremely poor planning and has been poorly presented. I don’t misunderstand President Schmidly. I disagree with him.

    President Schmidly’s condescension about future education efforts and defensiveness about the process to date aren’t helpful. Extremely intelligent and reasonable people can, and do, legitimately think his plan is flawed and that pursuing it would be irresponsible. And we can, and we will, discuss our concerns with the Regents. And they can, and I hope they will, refuse to approve it.

    This situation isn’t just a failure to communicate (though it is most certainly that) — it’s a genuine disagreement. He shouldn’t trivialize that by dismissively labeling it a lack of understanding.

  3. Roy Blomstrom says:

    That’s a camel, not a cowboy, with its head in the tent. Now the question is whether to accede to its snorting or take it firmly by the nose and lead it back outside.

    OSU has, so far, bungled its demographic study, threatened its neighbours with eviction, embarrassed its alumni and scared the small business community. Wonder what’s next on the Master Plan? Spend a little too much time in the sun, I guess, and you start to think that you’re hosting the next Olympics or that finding a twenty dollar bill means you can buy a fifteen hundred dollar suit, or that you’re a cowboy, even, and you have a right to the tent.

    What nonsense! How can a university with so much potential think so poorly and behave so badly?

  4. Mixer says:

    Here’s my $64 question: If the plan has yet to be presented to the Board of Regents for approval, then why is OSU already moving forward on it?

    Even though they won’t own up to it, Schmidly/Holder/Pickens want the OSU campus to encompass the (rough) footprint between Sixth, Western, Lakeview, and Main/N. Boomer Road. If you live within that area, or own rental property, they’ll be coming after you.


  5. In my case OSU had done everything up to filing papers at the court house before they officially took the plan to the regents. The lawyer kept telling me that the regents will do what ever OSU recommends, and he was right. The meeting where they agreed to take mine and my neighbors homes got less than 5 minutes of discussion, most of it joking around before the unanimous vote.

    OSU knows they will get the rubber stamp from the regents for anything they want. Furthermore, they know that since the courts all have large dealings with OSU they will get what ever they want from the judge. Our only chance is to change the minds of the regents and ask them to do their job of reviewing all the works of OSU. Only time will tell.

  6. Ellen Domnick says:

    in response to OSU comments in the Sunday News Press:
    My general impression is that this article represents classic”political-speak” .It did not answer the direct questions asked about the master plan, instead manipulated questions to serve a seemingly politically-motivated action. Nothing antagonises, or creates distrust from citizens, more than the inability to answer direct questions or more likely, the ability to avoid answering questions.

    Specifically, OSU does not answer satisfactorily the following questions:

    On what basis can it compare the success of MAPS in OKC and the Vision 2025 to any future success in Stillwater? Provide proof that success of these programs could be extrapolated.

    What facts support the statement that this plan would move OSU into the top 75 schools?

    To date, OSU has not publicly announced a specific plan regarding “facilities needs, utilities, trasffic patterns, parking, athletic, student housing, and landscaping.” Provide us with specifics. Concerns about possible closing of Hall of Fame and/or McElroy road are real and must be addressed.

    Who was on the OSU stakeholder team of 30 people? Their names should be made public. How were they selected? Are the minutes and dates of the stakeholder team meetings available to the public? Were quorums met at each of these meetings?

    Schmidley states that over 50 public meetings were held. This is debatable. Please provide the citizens with proof of the 50 public meeting announcements and the times, dates, and places of these claimed meetings.

    Is the OSU BOR going to vote on the master plan during the December 2 meeting, (although discussion has been tabled until the January meeting)? OSU did not state that the BORapproval vote itself was going to be postponed.

    As Marion Agnew said “I understand the plan, and I still think it’s a bad one.” Remember that few or no questions were allowed in a group format at the informational meetings held to date.

    The budget seems in question. OSU states that “we have limited dollars” to buy the property but Cimarron Property spokesman stated that OSU’s goal is to finish all appraisals by March 2006 and have all sales final by June 2006. If the “nearterm” plan is 2-5 years, why is OSU in this rush?

    Fair appraisals would not be current market value of a home. They would include
    1.adjustmentsfor purchase of a comparable home and property size in today’s dollars
    2. forgiveness of any capital gains taxes on sale of the property
    3. adjustment for loss of future rental income, or equivalent return on investment

    Is an indoor facility necessary in Stillwater, OK? What is the mean temperature for each month? How many OSU students would use the facility?

    Please give evidence that an athletic village will have a direct causal effect on recruiting of athletes, and competitive Big 12 teams. On what basis does OSU claim this?

    On what basis does OSU claim that “success in athletics generates benefits- national attention, increased donor support, a boost in pride and loyalty? Please explain exactly how the new facilities will support the local economy, create jobs, and increase the number of fans and supporters who come to Stillwater. I assume that the athletic village will be closed for non-student athlete and public use.

    Please explain the statement, “some private funds earmarked for this specific purpsoe are available for the initial land purchase, so there will be no impact on our athletic budget.” Please document this funding and how it is earmarked.

    The question of closing Hall of Fame road was not answered.

    On what basis can OSU state that owners living in the purchase area will “most likely locate elsewhere in Stillwater” and “the school district’s overall tax revenue will be minimized in the long run?”

    On what basis does OSU claim a “substantial economic impact over the next 10-15 years generated by more than $500 million in new construction?”

    There were a number of claims made by OSU; we must not believe these claims unless they are evidence-based claims. Please continue to write and ask questions.

  7. Marion Agnew says:

    Ellen said:

    On what basis does OSU claim that “success in athletics generates benefits- national attention, increased donor support, a boost in pride and loyalty?”


    OSU could invest the proposed gift in renovating the library and supporting undergraduate and graduate research experiences. Here’s another question for the Administration.

    Please compare and contrast the projected increase in “national attention, increased donor support, and boost in pride and loyalty” from the two proposed investments: in athletics and in academics. In your answer, please relate OSU’s goals to the experiences of other distinguished institutions of higher learning. Specifically, estimate the endowments, influence of alumni, and national attention given to Yale University (alma mater of both contenders for the U.S. presidency in 2004) and OU (losing participant in BCS championship bowls in 2003 and 2004).

    OSU deserves better. Why is OU the yardstick? Let OU be an athletics powerhouse. Let’s be Yale.

  8. The claim that athletic events will increase the local tax revenue is a popular one. I have found research in the past that has discovered in fact when you count all the expenses (police, EMS, city workers, longer commutes, trash, etc) you actually end up with a net loss for the local community.

    I will try and find this research when I get caught up at work and post some of that information here and on my site so when you hear this you can point to credible research that refutes this.

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