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$15 million gift to university from Jonny Jones and family
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$15 million gift to university from Jonny Jones and family

The money came from the Jonny and Brenda Jones family and was accepted by the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents.

Currently, the building houses the OU Welcome Center and the Office of Admissions and Recruitment where prospective students, families and members of the community can request tours.

As part of the gift, the OU Welcome Center will be renamed the Jones Family Welcome Center.

According to an OU press release, the renovation will update the 17,300-square-foot structure to preserve the building’s historical character. The renovation will also include an expansion which will better allow for office space for campus tours, financial presentations, application workshops, one-to-one meetings with admissions counselors and recruitment events.

“Our Admissions and Recruitment team has been working intentionally to bring in outstanding students to OU as enrollment continues to grow,” said Jeff Blahnik, vice president for enrollment management. “Jacobson Hall is the front door of the university to all prospective students. The incredibly generous gift by the Jones family will transform and elevate the work of our team and, more importantly, allow OU to appropriately serve prospective students and their families and help share the impactful story of our university.”

Jacob Guthrie, OU spokesperson said the building will add 10,000 feet of additional space.

“Some preliminary work on the building has already begun. The primary work is expected to begin this summer, with an expected completion of Fall 2025. All staff have already been temporarily relocated to other areas of campus,” Guthrie said.

Amy Noah, vice president for University Advancement, expressed her appreciation for the Jones family.

“This renovation is critically important to attracting new students to the University of Oklahoma. Jonny and Brenda have been dedicated supporters of OU for many years, so it is exciting to see them lead on this vital project.”

The regents also approved money to maintain the Bizzell Memorial Library’s HVAC equipment.

The original 1958 HVAC equipment will be replaced with new equipment and the systems will be updated with modern direct digital controls’

“In an effort to improve the energy performance, the windows on the north face will be replaced with high efficiency type windows. The project will also address deterioration of the windowsills and masonry and renovate the public bathrooms,” Guthrie said.

The library will not shut down during this work.

“Areas where maintenance is being performed may be inaccessible to the public for a time. However, this will not impact students’ access to library resources, other restrooms, and study areas in the library,” he said.

The cost of the Bizzell Memorial Library update will not exceed $11 million.

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