Q&A - March 4, 2016

The Old Post Office building in downtown Okmulgee was originally constructed in 1918. It is my understanding that the main entrance of the building (south) originally housed the Okmulgee Post Office, and the back entrance (north) greeted customers into the W.O. Winn Grocery and Quality Market.

The very next year, the building was expanded to the east adding several new storefronts and commercial spaces. One of the first businesses in the building expansion was the Byerley Cafeteria.

With its history dating back to 1918, this means shortly after we reopen the building (in August 2017) as an OSUIT student housing complex, we will be celebrating the building’s 100th birthday. Personally, I can’t think of a better gift to give this grand old building than a complete facelift and a new lease on life. The Grand Old Post Office will be starting her next 100 years in style.

Q: Will your building downtown meet modern construction codes?

As a state agency, OSUIT is held to the highest possible standards for all code compliance. Any building we construct or renovate must meet or exceed all construction and safety code requirements, particularly when that building will be used for student housing. We take our commitment to the safety and welfare of our students very seriously. We believe that facilities where students will be living and sleeping must be as safe as we can make them.

Though it is a historic building, the Old Post Office Complex will be receiving several new features. For instance, the building will get all new wiring and plumbing and all new mechanical systems. We will be installing fire-rated walls and materials between all sleeping units and a fire sprinkler system throughout the entire building. One existing set of stairs will be completely rebuilt to meet code requirements, and a brand new set of stairs will be added in the building to allow us to exceed code requirements. A public elevator will be installed and a series of interior and exterior ramps constructed to meet all accessibility requirements.

On the OSUIT downtown student housing project, each of our construction documents are reviewed by the OSU Fire Marshall, under the authority of the State Fire Marshall. The occupancy rate for the building must comply with all municipal and state fire safety codes. All work and materials will be compliant with the International Building Code of 2015. Renovation and construction must pass all inspections including structural, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing. There are absolutely no shortcuts when it comes to code compliance.

Additionally, the building will receive several modern conveniences to make it more comfortable for our students. Every apartment will be getting a brand new kitchen and bathroom with all new energy efficient appliances and fixtures. New dual pane thermal windows will be installed throughout the entire building to reduce energy costs and to make room temperatures more comfortable year-round.

We consider this renovation as a long-term solution for OSUIT student housing. The building was constructed to last, and we will do everything we can to maximize its longevity. Please feel free to send additional questions to osuit-president@okstate.edu.