OU's new student housing opens

When recruits talk about Oklahoma, tradition is the first thing that is brought up. That probably won't change anytime soon. What OU coach Bob Stoops has built in his tenure with the Sooners is tough to surpass.

But the last two years when talking about OU and its facilities, Headington Hall has been among the first things mentioned by recruits.

Sunday the time for talking was over. Current OU student athletes were allowed to move into the Hall, the newest student housing development on campus.

"It doesn't get any better than this," sophomore wide receiver Sterling Shepard said. "The view here is perfect."

OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said the Hall has been in the making for around 15 years, but it took nearly four years for all the construction to take place. He said it wasn't an easy process, but their vision has been met.

The six-story building will be the home for 380 OU students, including 180 student-athletes. The $75 million facility replaces Bud Wilkinson Hall and was funded by the University of Oklahoma Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. It is approximately 230,000 square feet.

"As I've said before, Headington Hall is truly a game-changer for the University of Oklahoma," said Stoops in a statement. "There's nothing else like it on another campus in America.

"Headington Hall is much more than a state-of-the-art residence hall, it's a place that generations of Sooners will be able to call home."

And the OU administration's hope is that it will be a pivotal part in luring recruits to campus in the future.

From uniform changes to locker room updates to renovated stadiums, colleges across the nation are doing whatever they can to appeal to recruits. Headington Hall is OU's appeal to try to stay relevant in the ever-evolving world of recruiting.

"I think it's going to be a real big boost," Shepard said. "At the end of my senior year I was told was about this place. The Bud was great, but it was getting old. It was time for something new."

The goal wasn't to use this as a recruiting tool, but it could end up being one of the many benefits, said Castiglione.

"It sets the standard," Castiglione said. "Few places have the chance to put everything under one roof. It's right at the center of campus and people can walk to class easily. We were trying to create the best possible environment for all of our student-athletes.

"I haven't seen one that can compare to this. There is a standard of excellence anytime we do something here at the University of Oklahoma. You only get a chance to do it right one time. This is a 50-100-year opportunity for us so we have to get it right the first time."

It features a game room, a movie theater, a massive dining hall and several study areas to go along with the bedroom units.

The Hall is named after former OU tennis player Tim Headington, one of the many OU alums who donated to the project. Former OU players Sam Bradford and Adrian Peterson each donated $500,000 to Headington Hall.

With the completion of the Hall, Castiglione said it will be the first time all incoming student-athletes will live under the same roof.

For all the bells and whistles, sometimes it's simple things that matter most. Shepard put it all into perspective when he was asked what's his favorite part of the facility.

"The bathroom," Shepard said. "We each have our own bathrooms. No more waiting or anything like that."

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