Q&A - April 29, 2016

From the beginning, I have viewed the renovation of the Old Post Office Complex in downtown Okmulgee as far more than just a typical student housing project.

It is a community revitalization project that uses the university’s need for student housing as a catalyst for fundamental change within the community of Okmulgee. It serves a twofold purpose of reconstructing a couple of vacant buildings to meet student housing needs while also rebuilding a community’s sense of worth and pride. The first part is relatively straightforward, but the second part is more challenging.

Let’s focus on the straightforward part in this week’s conversation.

Q: My husband is an air conditioning contractor. How can he make a bid to do the work on the OSUIT building downtown?

I realize many townspeople are watching this project with great anticipation. Some see it as a construction project that will temporarily put people to work and help the local economy in the short-term and others see it as a long-term economic development project that will spur future collaboration and prosperity for the overall community. Personally, I believe both perspectives are valid.

In the short-term, OSUIT has nearly 40,000 sq. ft. of building space to renovate in downtown Okmulgee and a lot of work to assign. At the same time, this region has many skilled tradesmen and construction suppliers that we would like to have involved with this project. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but we will need steel workers, construction workers, fabricators, brick masons, window installers, roofers, plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, sheet rockers, painters, finish carpenters, flooring installers, and suppliers who can furnish all the stock and materials that will be needed.

It has always been our intention to involve as many local suppliers and subcontractors as possible on this revitalization project because we want the local community to feel a sense of pride and partnership in what we are doing. OSUIT made this point very clear when architectural firms and construction managers were being interviewed last year. Still, as a state entity, OSUIT must follow all public competitive bidding processes and regulations.

All construction projects within the Oklahoma State University System are overseen by the OSU Long Range Facilities Planning Division. Mike Buchert is the Director of Long Range Facilities Planning for the OSU System. He has asked me to share his contact information and encourage local suppliers and licensed subcontractors to contact him if they wish to be included on the bid distribution list for OSUIT’s downtown student housing project. He can also explain the bid process in more detail when contacted.

Mike Buchert, Director of Long Range Facilities Planning
Oklahoma State University
Scott Hall, Room 506
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-1062
Email: mike.buchert@okstate.edu

This construction project is more than just your average building renovation; it is a legacy. This project is special. It will connect this university with its community in a substantial way and should serve as a catalyst for greater things to come; therefore, it is absolutely imperative that we do this right.

If you have more questions for me, please send them to osuit-president@okstate.edu.