What perhaps doesnt appeal to some sensibilities, however, might attract an entirely different audience: children.
Tracey Zeeck, an Oklahoma City public relations professional, said she and others have banded together in an attempt to repurpose the building, located at 400 W. Sheridan, as a childrens museum.
Designed by John Johansen, Stage Center opened in 1970 as the home of the Mummers Theatre, and the buildings design won awards and architectural accolades. In 1992 the performance venue underwent a $2 million renovation headed by local architect Rand Elliott.
By 2010, Stage Center was being operated by the Arts Council of Oklahoma
City and the city. That same year, however, the buildings basement
flooded and the contents of the affected area were lost.
following year, the Arts Council turned the building over to the
Oklahoma City Community Foundation, owner of the land on which the
building sits. The construction of the Devon tower across the street has
renewed interest in what to do with the beleaguered building.
The local chapter of the American Institute of Architects
issued a request for proposals due Feb. 29 for the purchase or lease
and redevelopment of the iconic building.
Zeeck said the RFP motivated her to put forth the idea of a childrens museum.
Oklahoma City has some museums that focus on kids, such as Science
Museum Oklahoma, Zeeck said there is not a true childrens museum that
allows for open-ended play. She added that Stage Centers unique design
and location near the newly renovated Myriad Gardens, Devon tower and
the future downtown elementary school make for a perfect fit.
This is really the last
chance to save that space, Zeeck said. Were not thinking small at any
level. Paired with architects and designers from Rees Associates in
Oklahoma City, Zeeck said she and others
who share a similar concept for the building have received the blessing
of Johansen and his son, who is also an architect.
group is expected to unveil its design for the building today, and is
still actively seeking funding. Zeeck said she also is working to get a
nonprofit organization established for the project.
trying to tell a story on that street corner, where were saying we
cant keep taking pages out of Oklahoma Citys book to write new
chapters, because you will never be able to read the story again, Zeeck
But even if
Zeecks proposal for Stage Center isnt accepted, she said she hopes to
establish a childrens museum elsewhere in Oklahoma City.
I dont want it to die [if] Stage Center dies, she said.
Photo by Mark Hancock