Q&A - November 18, 2016

Many agree that what is happening in downtown Okmulgee right now is absolutely unprecedented. So understandably, people outside of Okmulgee are starting to take notice of the exciting changes occurring within our community.

Recently, Okmulgee hosted a large group of main street managers, volunteers and staff members from around the state in conjunction with a three-day training session conducted by the Oklahoma Main Street Center as part of their annual conference. We were able to highlight many of the exciting projects going on in downtown Okmulgee and provide conference attendees with a wealth of information about our success and answer many of their questions about #OkmulgeeRising.

Q: Can you give us another construction update on the Old Post Office?

Our construction superintendent has noticed an increasing number of cars slowly driving by the old Post Office in the last few weeks. People are curious about what is happening in downtown Okmulgee and want to see how renovation is coming along on the OSUIT project. We are proud of the substantial amount of work that has taken place since October 10 and delighted to tell you about our progress. We just ask that you please be very careful if you are in the vicinity of this project. Stay outside of the construction fence, and watch out for workers and work vehicles.

Inside the construction fence at 5th & Grand, there is a whirlwind of activity going on as work crews, engineers, and inspectors are methodically advancing throughout the OSUIT student housing renovation project. Construction workers in hardhats and safety gear are busily at work everywhere. Bobcats, platform lifts, frontend loaders, and dump trucks are crisscrossing through the jobsite as progress is being made everywhere. Slab removal and grading has been completed. The elevator pit has been dug. Subfloor fill and joist repair is well underway. New masonry openings between the two buildings are being cut this week. On the exterior of the building, the old storefront alcoves and rear overhead doors have been removed. Roof and wall flashing is being replaced. Parapet wall repairs and tuck point brick work is ongoing.

In every way, this is an active construction site with a lot of moving parts that requires an immense amount of planning and orchestration. Oakridge Builders is skillfully overseeing the work of numerous subcontractors every day. Right now, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing crews are hard at work “roughing in” all the new utilities prior to concrete trucks and rough framing crews.

You may also find it interesting to learn about something we found beneath the old concrete floor. A stone-lined cistern (water well) was unearthed below the east side of the building. Years ago, prior to the floor being poured, it was filled in with dirt and debris. But nearly one hundred years later that fill had settled almost eleven feet. Unfortunately, there is no treasure or artifacts to report.

Again, I will do my best to keep you informed as construction progresses, but if you have additional questions or comments about the downtown student housing project of OSUIT, please send them to me at osuit-president@okstate.edu.