Dan Weber, staff writer for The Collegian newspaper at the University of Tulsa, has this to say about the university’s construction in recent years along 11th Street, aka Route 66, in Tulsa.
The actual presence of Tulsa on campus itself is much less prominent than in 2005.
You don’t have to be a fan of Insane Clown Posse or diner slop to understand that Starship and The Metro (two businesses displaced by south campus construction) were Tulsa institutions that meant more to locals than the view of the Collins Hall fountain ever will.
The clichéd complaint that spurred the Chapman Commons “front door” project was that traveling along 11th Street, those unfamiliar with the campus wouldn’t be able to recognize that they were adjacent to a university.
Since 11th also happens to be midtown’s leg of Route 66, TU was squandering a golden opportunity to latch onto the mythos of the Mother Road. Ironically, now gazing upon Chapman Commons one wouldn’t immediately recognize that they were adjacent to Route 66.
The sight of a vast, overly-manicured lawn lined with saplings and wood and brick apartments seems more appropriate for a Jenks-style golf-course or neighborhood than Tulsa’s seedy motel and used car dealership corridor. […]
If future developments are as single-minded as the latest projects have been, the university may further force the surrounding area to accommodate its vision of a desirable campus and its students to accept a school that feels more insular the more it expands.
The column also takes a swipe at TU for putting up a big black gate near the poor but distinctive Kendall-Whittier neighborhood, which contains an older alignment of Route 66. Weber says “the gate only reinforces TU’s image as an affluent enclave seeking its own interests and security.”
I have nothing more to add.