Oklahoma City (Feb. 11, 2009)—The Oklahoma Lottery has contributed $250M to Oklahoma education with more than $110M used to pay for debt service on a higher education capital projects bond issue. These projects can be seen on college and university campuses throughout the state such as the establishment of the National Weather Center, the largest center of its kind in the world, at the University of Oklahoma (OU) in Norman.
According to Catherine Bishop, OU’s vice president of public affairs, the National Weather Center is a $67 million facility built with funding provided from a variety of sources, including $22+ million in state appropriations, $22+ million in federal appropriations and $3.35 million from the state bond issue.
The 244,000-square-foot National Weather Center is a partnership between OU and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Norman-based weather research and operations programs.
“The National Weather Center helps Oklahoma build a diversified economy based upon research and high technology,” says Bishop. “The Center affords the type of collaboration between government, academia and the private sector that offers the best opportunity to advance our understanding and prediction of weather phenomena to save lives and property as well as promote economic development.”
Bishop adds that the Center is designed to encourage synergistic relationships between OU’s faculty, researchers and students and NOAA staff to help federal, state and local government agencies reduce loss of life and property due to hazardous weather, ensure wise use of water resources, enhance agricultural production and develop renewable energy sources.
The National Weather Center groups also work with private-sector associates to develop new applications of weather and regional climate information that provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
“Additionally, the new facility enables OU students to experience and engage in weather research firsthand, helping them become some of the best-equipped weather practitioners in the world,” says Bishop.
The Oklahoma Education Lottery Act, passed in November 2004, designates the net proceeds of all Lottery games for educational improvements and enhancements statewide. The funds benefit all levels of education from Pre-K to higher education. The higher education capital bond issue Gov. Brad Henry signed into law in 2005 allows colleges and universities to access these funds for renovations and expansions to serve more students effectively and efficiently.
Lottery funds have also contributed to the betterment of the following educational systems:
Helped fund the Delores O’Guin Mitchell Library, a state-of-the-art electronic library.
Northeastern State University
Assisted in renovating its science building, developing its Enrollment Management Center and renovating areas of its Broken Arrow campus.
Helped fund the new science and agriculture building to continue the university’s ongoing contribution to agricultural education.
Used funds to build its Agriculture Resource Center’s conservatory, a living laboratory of plant varieties.
Helped finance its Public Safety Training Center, a 22,000 square foot building housing classes for students in police, fire and emergency medical technology, early care education, crime victim/survivor, and chemical abuse studies.
Assisted in renovating its occupational safety and health, and theatre buildings and
helped build a new general classroom building.
University of Central Oklahoma
Helping fund the construction of its forensic science building to be completed in Fall 2009.
Northern Oklahoma College
Helping build, expand and renovate campus buildings for academic and administrative purposes.
Assisting in building a new interdisciplinary research building and the restoration and renovation of South Murray Hall.
Helped with the expansion of the Health Professions Education Center.
Lottery proceeds are used throughout the state to supplement existing funds for a variety of important education purposes, including: teacher compensation and benefits, early childhood development programs, college scholarships, classroom technology and construction of educational facilities.
For more information about the Oklahoma Lottery, please visit www.lottery.ok.gov.