Q&A - July 29, 2016

The old Post Office, on the northeast corner of 5th and Grand in downtown Okmulgee was constructed in 1918. OSUIT purchased this building last year (along with the building connected to it) and is planning to renovate and reopen them as a student housing complex in time for a centennial celebration. The grand reopening of the Old Post Office Complex will fittingly occur in early 2018, exactly one hundred years after its original construction.

Q: I haven’t seen any progress on your building in a while. What is going on?

Last month, we authorized the preconstruction demolition of several walls and ceilings throughout the Old Post Office Complex. This was done to expose all of the structural elements of the buildings for closer inspection. Our team of architects, engineers, building contractors, and code compliance officers have now surveyed, studied, and scrutinized every square inch of the existing buildings. The consensus from all of the experts was that these buildings were very well-constructed and exceeded our expectations. During this time, we also had our general contractor preserve several original walls and delicate features of the building behind temporary plywood walls to protect them from possible damage during construction.

For several months now, we have been engaged in meetings to discuss every considerable aspect and element of the project. Our goal has been to anticipate every possible problem we might encounter on this renovation project and to develop a working set of plans to both respect the integrity of this historic property and accommodate the modern needs of students.

I am happy to announce that the design phase of this student housing project is now completed. The working drawings have been finalized, and the construction bid process will begin on August 1, with actual construction to begin in mid-September.

Q: How can local contractors bid on this project?

Construction projects can create great opportunities within the local economy. A project of this size will require numerous subcontractors, and we hope many of them will come from Okmulgee and the surrounding area. The general contractor for the OSUIT downtown student housing project will be Oakridge Builders out of Tulsa, and they will be responsible for hiring all subcontractors. Oakridge Builders will hold a special open forum on campus for local subcontractors and suppliers who want to learn more about the bid selection process. This question and answer session will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on August 5 in the Okmulgee Conference Room of the Student Union. Among other things, they will discuss the qualifications required for public bidding under state regulations—Title 61. The bid opening date has tentatively been set in late August. Please look for more details about the bid process to be published by Oakridge Builders in the Okmulgee Times.

In addition, watch for information about a local Job Fair to be scheduled sometime in mid-September. This could be a good opportunity for general laborers to find work on this and other construction projects in the Okmulgee area.

I always appreciate your input and questions. Please continue to forward them to me at osuit-president@okstate.edu.