Lamb shows legislators UCO is a ‘wise investment’ for 2024

President Todd Lamb is UCO’s 22nd president. (UCO OFFICIAL/PROVIDED)

With the 2024 Oklahoma Legislative sessions in full-swing, UCO President Todd Lamb has been active at the state Capitol doing what he describes as, “sharing with the legislators the uniqueness of UCO.”
Higher education in Oklahoma has consistently been discussed throughout the state government as the 2024 sessions begin, with issues ranging from DEI offices to funding to enrollment, higher education institutions, including UCO, have continued to experience changes going into their Spring semesters.
“It’s exciting to be on a college campus,” said Lamb when discussing the beginning of the Spring semester.
Lamb went on to discuss his recent activity at the Capitol and how this Legislative session can impact UCO, but also UCO’s impact on Oklahoma.
“We’re unique,” said Lamb. “The appropriated dollar of UCO stretches the farthest, it’s a wise investment, it’s a prudent investment and it helps the state of Oklahoma.”
There are currently two pieces of legislation that Lamb is focusing on that can impact UCO. One having to do with concurrent enrollment, and the other having to do with deferred maintenance on college campuses.
“There’s legislation right now for a flat fee, regardless of how much it costs the institution to provide concurrent,” said Lamb.
Lamb then went on to discuss Rep. Mark McBride’s bill which involves deferred maintenance on college campuses.
A deferred maintenance can range from buildings that are not up to standard for The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to buildings that need refurbishment to simple boiler issues.
In the past two months, UCO has seen two major maintenance issues.
One being a burst pipe in the UCO Suites Dormitory which displaced 80 students at the beginning of the semester, and the other being an issue with the foundations of the Liberal Arts South building.
“A lot of our buildings on UCO’s campus are old,” said Lamb. “Once you’ve deferred maintenance it doesn’t get any better, and it doesn’t stay the same, it just continues to get worse, and if it continues to get worse it becomes more expensive.”
Lamb went on talking about how the bill and current program are very general at the Capitol, but did describe how deferred maintenance operates and how there is an idea to assist higher education institutions with their deferred maintenance.
“I’ve got to keep this very general, because it’s very general at the state Capitol right now,” said Lamb. “There’s a pot-of-money that the legislature wants to set aside for higher ed deferred maintenance.”
“Of that pot-of-money, the way it’s currently divided between the 25 colleges and universities,” said Lamb. “I don’t think UCO will get its fair-share.”
Along with maintenance issues on UCO, the campus has also been facing a budget crisis which Lamb inherited from previous administrations.
As of right now, UCO is the 3rd-largest state university, but it remains the least funded of the 13 4-year institutions.

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