Nakota Taylor wouldn’t trade in the year she spent living in Dobson Residence Hall at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. The experience opened doors for her to meet other students and become involved on campus. She credits her year in the dorms to giving her the chance to participate in Homecoming and Student Body Government opportunities she may not have had living off campus.

Plus, she got to decorate her room exactly as she wanted, which featured a color palette made up entirely with shades of pink.

But despite the new friends, opportunities and pink decor, Taylor said dorm life could have undergone some improvements.

“It would be nice to have an updated style- the kind of rooms you see at other schools where three people share a common kitchen and living room,” the sophomore from Vinita said. “Instead of sharing the bathroom with 50 other girls, you could share it with just a few.”

Comments such as these have been relayed to NEO’s leaders, so students driving by the south end of campus in the next few weeks will be pleased to know that those leaders were listening.

The three campus apartment buildings, located behind the women’s residence halls, are being demolished. In time, that space will be filled by new student housing.

Matt Leedy, current Student Body Government president, said that newer housing will likely play a key role in attracting a greater number of prospective students.

“A lot of students are interested in NEO because they don’t want to go to school too far away, but they also don’t want to live at home,” said Leedy, a sophomore from Morrison. “NEO would be a lot more appealing to them if the college could offer brand new dorms.”

Dr. Jeffery Hale, NEO president, said that he will spend time with students this summer and throughout the fall in order to develop plans for a new residential complex. Hale would like to have plans to the Board of Regents for approval by the end of the 2010 calendar year.

“NEO will spend a great deal of time collecting the thoughts and opinions of students like Nakota and Matt before proceeding with any definitive planning,” said Hale. “Colleges today are able to provide students with the style and amenities that they demand in housing. NEO will now be able to better compete with that.”

The demolition of the three apartment buildings will be completed in August, said Steve Grimes, director of NEO’s physical plant. The demolition of each structure will take approximately two-and-a-half weeks, he said.

Students have not occupied NEO’s apartment complexes since July of 2009.

Collins Construction of Miami has overseen the demolition effort. Crews have been separating the metal and concrete from the debris so that those materials may be recycled.

The City of Miami and Ottawa County officials are allowing the college to dispose of the debris at a local reclamation site that had been dug for road construction. Other alternatives, which included shipping the debris to a site in Kansas, would have cost upwards of $80,000.

Taylor, who is living on campus and taking summer-session courses, has a bird’s eye view of the progress. And she likes what she is seeing.

“I think the chance to live in a new dorm will entice students to come to NEO,” Taylor said. “If I were deciding today where to go, it would help my decision.”