Conception: Before assuming the presidency of the University of Oklahoma in November of 1994, U.S. Senator David L. Boren met with OU Health Sciences Center students and faculty members. He determined that one of the top priorities for the first year of his administration would be to accelerate the construction of the long-awaited student center on the Oklahoma City campus.
Boren believed that such a facility was “essential to building the spirit of family and community” on the Oklahoma City campus. Some sort of student center had been part of the Campus Master Plan since the late 1970s but had never been funded. The OU Health Sciences Center Student Association had approved an increase in student fees to help support the project, and through Boren’s efforts, Section 13 revenue bonds were secured for the first time in the University’s history. These funds were pooled with student fees to finance the building. Construction began on August 1, 1995, just eight months into Boren’s administration.
Grand Opening: On September 4, 1996, Boren and HSC Student Association President David Kendrick presided over dedication ceremonies for the $4.3 million structure, which included office for student government, a fitness facility, food court, meeting and study rooms, and computer stations. Kendrick had activity championed the facility on behalf of Health Sciences Center students.
Expansion: In 2000, the OU Board of Regents approved plans to add a third floor to the building to house Financial Aid and HSC Student Affairs. Funding for the addition was provided largely by student fees earmarked for that purpose. Student support for the addition was led by Robert J. Herman, HSC Student Association president at the time the project was being considered.
Dedication: In 2004, in honor of the tenth anniversary of his presidency and recognizing his strong support for students, the OU Board of Regents named the building the David L. Boren Student Union.
Remodel: In 2009, the Union Fitness Center was closed and remodeled for additional conference and meeting rooms. The decline in patronage of the Union Fitness Center after the University Health Club opened in 2007 and the added foot traffic in the Public Dining Room during lunch after the College of Allied Health building opened in 2008 underpinned the need for reallocating the space. The Public Dining Room was doubled in size due to the remodel as the newly renovated rooms hosted the majority of meetings and conferences.