Murray State College held a groundbreaking ceremony for the student union located the Tishomingo campus. 

“This project helps us accomplish a number of things with the needs of our students at the forefront,” Faltyn said. “It has been the number one capital project priority for our Board of Regents because of the impact it will have for our students.”

Along with President Faltyn, Speaker of the House Charles McCall, Senator Jerry Alvord, Oklahoma State Regent Ann Holloway, Murray State Board of Regent Adisha Chapman and Murray State Student Government Association officers provided remarks.

Oklahoma Speaker of the House Representative Charles McCall remarked, “This is where the future of the state of Oklahoma is going to take place. One thing that helps us leverage great infrastructure projects such as this are our current [and future] partnerships.”

Oklahoma State Regent Holloway is an alumna, strong advocate for Murray State College and has dedicated most of her life to higher education. “Today, I’m celebrating the 50th anniversary of completing my associate degree from Murray State,” said Holloway. “It was a wonderful experience and I will always have fond memories of my time here.”

Murray State College Regents strive to make the best decisions to improve the student experience and create opportunities for growth. “Murray State has many exciting projects and programs taking off on both campuses,” Chapman said. “Transforming the region is no easy task, but it is one that Murray State has taken head on. We are excited for our student union but even more excited about the future of southern Oklahoma. I can say with confidence that our best days are still ahead.”

“The changes that have happened and are coming, and the proposed additions to the campus and the curriculum are truly groundbreaking,” Alvord said. “What we’ve seen and are seeing does not happen without really good people doing the work.”

Members of the Student Government Association (SGA) were instrumental in determining the design and amenities to come. SGA President Jaysen Welty expressed, “It has been incredibly encouraging that the voice of the student body is being heard as the needs for student union spaces have been discussed. It’s important for students of all walks of life to have a place to gather, socialize, learn, get help or resources and have a meal.”

The student union was originally constructed in 1964, and it is believed that it has only undergone one minor renovation since then. The 14,000 square feet of space in the building will be updated, and another 9,260 square feet will be added in new construction. This $7 million project is funded in part by a student union fee.

In September 2023, Murray State was approved to assess a student union fee to aid in the renovation and expansion costs associated with the Murray State College Park Student Union, as well as the addition of online collaborative spaces for students and amenities on the Ardmore campus.

One important component to how the renovation and expansion project has crossed the finish line is thanks to a Murray alum, Thomas E. Barnett. After earning his associate’s degree from Murray State, Barnett spent a lifetime growing as a person and establishing himself as a great businessman. When he passed, a planned gift was sent to Murray State College totaling more than $1 million, representing the largest single gift in the history of Murray State. A portion of those funds will help expand the Thomas E. Barnett Ballroom on the Tishomingo campus.