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Grand Opening of Northern Oklahoma College’s 21st century Pickens Learning Common

Grand Opening of Northern Oklahoma College’s 21st century Pickens Learning Commons


The Pickens Learning Commons is receiving the final touches and NOC will host the grand opening on Wednesday, Oct. 12. The Pickens Learning Commons is the transformation of the Vineyard Library at Northern Oklahoma College Tonkawa to include library services, the testing center, tutoring services, career and transfer services, and the Cultural Engagement Center (CEC).

The space brings several services together for the convenience of students. The space also includes enhanced technology resources, distributed individual and collaborative study spaces, and two stunning murals totaling 100’x20’ by artist Yatika Starr Fields, commissioned by the Hugh and Dr. S. J. Pickens Museum. The museum had earlier commissioned two murals in the CEC by Fields, that were completed in June 2021. There are over 80 pieces of art in the Pickens Learning Commons, which make it one of the most significant art collections on display in northern Oklahoma.

President Clark Harris said, “The entire transformation has been funded by external funding, including a generous donation by the Hugh and Dr. S. J. Pickens Museum. Mr. Hugh Picken’s desire to help NOC to be able to modernize the library into a 21st century collaborative study environment for the NOC students is incredibly heartwarming.”

“We are so proud of our partnership with Hugh Pickens and the Doctor Pickens Museum, said NOC Vice President for Development and Executive Director to the NOC Foundation Sheri Snyder. “We are profoundly grateful for friends such as the Pickens who continue to share their gifts with us.”

The Pickens Learning Commons is the first significant project of the Building a Better NOC initiative. The Building a Better NOC initiative has received extensive feedback from students, faculty, staff and community members on small and large ways to improve the college experience for Northern Oklahoma College students, employees and the community.

“The library at NOC Tonkawa was at a pivotal crossroads with rows and rows of outdated books not being used by today’s students and there was a need for a modernized library with individual and small group study areas in a dynamic environment,” said Dr. Clark Harris.  “The library has benefited from a reduction of outdated books, a fresh open feel in the entire library, a new inviting entrance with a smaller circulation desk, new carpet, newly painted walls, upgraded technology resources, new furniture and inspiring art on the walls. This project is a perfect example of connecting NOC’s core values of personalized education, continuous improvement and community and civic engagement into one transforming project.”

The come and go grand opening will be Oct. 12, from 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. with remarks and a ribbon cutting by the Tonkawa Chamber of Commerce set for 4 p.m.  The event is open to the public.Northern Oklahoma College, the state’s first public two-year community college, is a multi-campus, land-grant institution that provides high quality, accessible, and affordable educational opportunities and services.

For more information about Northern Oklahoma College please call (580) 628-6208 or visit the NOC website at