OC To Convert Retirement Home Into Dormitory - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

OC To Convert Retirement Home Into Dormitory, Future Uncertain For Elderly Residents

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The Church of Christ affiliated university has owned and operated the retirement center since 1990. On Wednesday, university officials sent letters to the senior citizens announcing plans to convert the retirement center into student housing. The Church of Christ affiliated university has owned and operated the retirement center since 1990. On Wednesday, university officials sent letters to the senior citizens announcing plans to convert the retirement center into student housing.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Residents of Tealridge Retirement Community on the Oklahoma Christian University (OC) campus say they are afraid they will be told to hit the road to make room for additional students.

The Church of Christ affiliated university has owned and operated the independent living retirement center since 1990. On Wednesday, university officials sent letters to the senior citizens announcing plans to convert the retirement center into student housing. That letter is causing stress among the elderly residents.

David Costine, 95, is a World War II veteran who served on President Truman's plane following the war. Now, the American hero fears he and his friends will be shown the door.

"It was a total shock to not only me, but all of the residents," Costine said.

In a statement, Oklahoma Christian University says the retirement community will gradually be converted into student housing due to an increase in student enrollment.

"To me, it's poor management," said Costine. "They should [have been able] to forecast this."

OC will not make any promises, but says it does not anticipate current senior citizens being displaced -- even though 30 students have already moved into the building.

"What is really going to happen here?" asked Costine. "They're saying that this will be stretched out over a period of several years, but we don't believe that."

Risa Forrester, Oklahoma Christian VP of admissions and marketing, says the university is sad that its decision is causing anxiety and anxiousness in the senior residents. Forrester also says the conversion is the right choice financially for OC because a new dormitory would cost millions of dollars.

"Since this is a more affordable option for the institution … in the long run, it's going to be a more affordable option for our students," Forrester said.

OC officials say more students will move into the retirement center soon. They say the move is an intergenerational learning experience.

Costine says he has a lot of friends at Tealridge. The bottom line is, he doesn't want to lose them.

Additional students could move into the retirement facility as early as late December.

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