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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Oklahoma’s college towns earn top grades

Stillwater is home to Oklahoma State University, courtesy Stillwater CVB


In Norman, home of the University of Oklahoma, crews broke ground in May on a 115-room Holiday Inn Express across the street from the Embassy Suites Norman Hotel and Conference Center.

Having overflow space so close to one of the city’s most popular conference facilities is exciting, said Stefanie Brickman, communications manager for the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“And it’s a small side street; you probably don’t even have to look both ways. The front desk operators could wave to each other,” she said with a laugh.

The Holiday Inn, expected to open in July 2014, will add overflow space for the 283-room Embassy Suites, making that property’s 50,000 square feet of flexible meeting space even more attractive for conferences.

“They have already been talking to meeting planners about how this additional space will help them,” Brickman said.

Down the street from the conference center, construction is underway on city-owned Legacy Park, which will have an amphitheater with a stage, a one-acre circular pond with fountains and a path around the pond.

“We’re eagerly anticipating that and the entertainment it will provide,” said Brickman. “For meeting planners, that would be very popular for evening events.”

Norman is probably best known as the home of the University of Oklahoma and the National Weather Service.

On the OU campus, the Memorial Union has more than 25 meeting rooms, conference rooms, boardrooms and lounges, as well as the 400-seat Meacham Auditorium and the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom, which can accommodate 500 people in banquet-style seating. The on-campus hotel, Sooner Suites, has 30 rooms and suites.

A couple miles from campus is the National Weather Service headquarters, available for tours and events. It is “a tremendous venue to hold a unique dinner or event,” said Brickman.


An hour north of Oklahoma City, Stillwater is home to Oklahoma State University and its 30,000 students.

The campus plays a central role in city life, and OSU has several facilities that are popular for meetings and events, said John Myers, sales manager for the Stillwater Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“OSU helps provide us with a lot of different types of groups that are coming in,” he said. “The university helps attract them, and we’re here to serve them.”

At nearly 460,000 square feet, the university’s student union is one of the largest in the country, and it underwent an extensive renovation in 2011.

The massive facility’s meeting and event space ranges from a 400-square-foot boardroom to a 7,500-square-foot ballroom. It also has in-house catering and a parking garage and is attached to the 81-room Atherton Hotel.

Other popular campus venues include the 50,000-square-foot ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center and the Wes Watkins Center, with more than 35,000 square feet of meeting space.

Less than two miles from campus, the former Stillwater Plaza Hotel and Conference Center was renovated and changed flags before reopening in March as the 122-room Wyndham Garden Stillwater.

“They basically redid everything,” Myers said. “It was a complete renovation from top to bottom.”