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'Efficient, cost-effective process' needed for new convention center

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Regarding Scott Cooper's "What the heck is going on with the new convention center?" cover story (Aug. 25, Oklahoma Gazette):

I'd like to offer my own personal guess regarding an Oklahoma City convention center, having lived through Urban Renewal, the Pei Plan, the Pelli Plan, various configurations of the perpetually underutilized Myriad Convention Center, the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum and enough MAPS to fill the rack at a gas station (when gas stations still carried maps, pumped gas and employed a mechanic).

This being Oklahoma, we need to realize that first the idea will need to be studied for several years, at a cost approaching the eventual design fee for the actual building, which will then be designed by an out-of-state, big-name architect " preferably one from Europe or Asia, with absolutely no vested interest in our state or city. This design will then be abandoned.

After another expensive study, an entirely different big-name, out-of-state architect will be given the commission to design the facility, with the stipulation to make as much use as possible of the first architect's work (but only if nobody will have to reimburse him or her for this use of intellectual property). The facility will be built, eventually, to look sort of like the architect's design, but with a lot of so-called "value engineering" (usually front-end construction cost-reduction strategies, with little regard for life cycle costing or maintainability, or, alternatively, a modern name for what went on in the old "smoke-filled room"), which will cheapen the eventual finished appearance, increase maintenance costs, reduce capacity and shorten the useful life span of the building, so that in only a couple of generations, say 30 or 40 years, our kids and grandkids will have the unspeakable fun of repeating the entire process!

Maybe I'm too cynical, but the above scenario wouldn't surprise me a bit. What would surprise me would be an efficient, cost-effective process resulting in a highly creative design by one of our talented local architectural firms (and there are many) for a useful, versatile and attractive event center within walking distance of the downtown hotels and businesses, and the entertainment in Bricktown.

"Roger Barton
Warr Acres

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