Officials are still fundraising and planning for Smith Hall to be turned into an interfaith dorm.
“The plan is still to convert all or part of Smith Hall into an interfaith residence hall,” said Dr. Charles Neff, vice president for university-church relations.
“We are currently in the silent phase of fundraising, where architects are drawing up plans and renderings to give us approximate costs for the project.”
Once officials have the renderings and costs, they will use them to come up with fundraising materials, Neff said.
The renovations were announced in Fall 2015 and projected to be complete by Fall 2018, according to Student Publications archives.
“I’ve heard about their plans since freshman year,” said Katelyn Jassoy, music theater and vocal performance junior. “Since definite plans have yet to come to my attention, I honestly thought they had given up the idea.”
Officials said the interfaith dorm will be the first of its kind in Oklahoma and one of the largest in the United States.
The plan is that residents will be paired with someone of their own religion as a roommate and students of different religions as their suitemates.
“There will be structured conversations, but the expectation is that much of the learning experience will happen organically,” Neff said.
The interfaith dorm will be programmed intentionally to foster interfaith dialogue through things like fireside chats and weekly worship services reflecting the various religious backgrounds of residents, according to Student Publications archives.
Neff said university officials are focused on interfaith dialogue to create an inclusive environment.
“Knowing something about other faiths and being in authentic relationships with people of other faiths is incredibly important in today’s world, perhaps more now than ever before,” Neff said.