Project at ORU hung up
BY ZIVA BRANSTETTER AND APRIL MARCISZEWSKI World Staff Writers
Thursday, November 08, 2007
3/19/08 at 6:38 AM
For more: Read the latest ORU stories, view the lawsuit and other documents and watch slide shows and video.
The university raised $8.8 million
for a new student center since 2001.
The site is still empty.
Oral Roberts University raised $8.8 million starting
in 2001 for a student center that still hasn't been built.
The school has used some of the money for scholarships and operations, officials said Wednesday.
After the project was put on hold, an anonymous donor who gave more than half of the total helped the university decide how to use the money, a spokesman
In responding to requests from the Tulsa World, the
university released details but not records about money raised for the center.
A university spokesman, Jeremy Burton, said in a
statement that ORU still plans to build the center.
ORU President Richard Roberts used a ceremonial
shovel more than six years ago to break ground for the
student center. ORU said then that the project would
cost $17.5 million.
Roberts announced months later in July 2001 that the
school had received a $5 million anonymous gift for
construction of the center. ORU's alumni magazine reported that students and other donors followed with
pledges of at least $2 million for the center.
One of the donors was the university's founder, Oral Roberts, who gave $100,000
during the International Charismatic Bible Ministries Conference.
The site, however, remains
George Paul, the president
of the ORU alumni association's board in 2001, referred
comments about the project to
ORU. Other board members
did not return calls seeking
Burton said ORU spent $3.6 million of the anonymous donor's money on the demolition
of a building, relocation of departments, utilities, work on
Fred Creek and professional
The project account contains $227,089, his statement
The project was put on hold
after Sept. 11, 2001, because of
a decline in donations, the
However, in 2002, Richard
Roberts, his wife, Lindsay
Roberts, and one of their
daughters stood before a silver donation box as they
pressed two buttons to implode an old classroom building on the site of the future
center. University officials
said then that the student center was to be completed by
By 2005, Richard Roberts
was referring to the student
center as one of several projects in "the dream stage," according to his column in the alumni magazine.
ORU's Web site is still seeking donations to the ORU
Alumni Foundation for the student center.
Burton said the university
needs at least $10 million before it continues the project.
Architects estimated in 2001
that the next phase, pouring
the foundation and building
the shell, would cost about $15
million, Burton's statement
The university has said the
center would include a food
court, computer center, bank,
post office and dry cleaners.
The $8.8 million raised for
the project went to two nonprofit entities: Oral Roberts
University and the ORU Alumni Foundation, the university
said Wednesday. ORU did not
say how the donations were
split between the university
and its alumni foundation.
IRS records show that between 1998 and 2006, the ORU
Alumni Foundation never held more than $788,000 in temporarily restricted funds.
The tax records show that
Oral Roberts University received $10 million in temporarily restricted funds in the
2000-2001 tax year. The
amount of temporarily restricted funds held by ORU
declined from $23 million that
year to about $12.6 million
during the next five years, records show.
Donations to nonprofit organizations for specific projects
must be used for those purposes unless the donors agree
to a change in purpose.
The IRS requires nonprofits
to reflect these amounts in an
annual tax report, known as a
990 form, as temporarily restricted funds until they are
spent on the project.
Ziva Branstetter 581-8378
April Marciszewski 581-8475
Oral Roberts University started raising money for a
new student center in 2001, but construction has
yet to begin.