The University of Oklahoma is undergoing major changes these days. In a Board of Regents meeting Friday, OU President Joe Harroz spoke about a vision for the fate of the three old tower dormitories in Norman: knocking them down.
The plan will take years to fully complete, but with complaints about mold and leaky pipes mounting over the years, why wait? There’s an old tale that, if true, could really help out in a situation like this.
If you ever attended OU and lived in those dorms, you probably heard of the urban legend surrounding their construction. For those that haven’t, the legend goes that the three OU housing towers (Walker, Couch and Adams) were designed so that the top few floors, in the event of extremely high winds, would shear off and … preserve the rest of the building, I guess?
The story never really made sense to me, but that’s the gist of it. It is very likely just a tale incoming freshmen are told to razz them a bit; the old “pool on the roof” gag, if you will. After about the second week of school, you quickly realize the idea is silly for a couple of reasons. One is, owing to the shape of the towers, when exiting out of the bottom you immediately feel the highest winds you’ve ever felt in your life. They whip through there at supersonic speeds, almost physically hoisting you in the air from the power. And yet the structures remain. The second reason is it doesn’t really seem like sound architectural design to have your building, you know, cut itself in half on a blustery spring day. And let’s not even mention how the damage from the debris to the surrounding area would be devastating.
All this is to say that the news of the OU housing towers’ impending demise is a little bittersweet for me. Yes, they aren’t exactly luxury condos, or even run-down studio apartments. But there are a lot of fun memories tied up in those buildings, and a part of me doesn’t want to see them go. All things must pass, though, and perhaps we can get a new urban legend in its place. I hear Cross Village was once a thriving utopia….
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