Q&A - November 22, 2015

Typically, when two people work together, they can complete a job faster than can one person working alone. A team that works well together can complete a task more efficiently and more effectively and in less time than when a solo effort is embarked upon.

The same is true when two or more organizations or public entities work symbiotically. By combining their talent and resources, they can cut down on redundancies and maximize efficiencies. The next set of questions focus on this principle:

Q: How has the City of Okmulgee shown its commitment to OSUIT’s expansion into the downtown?

The Okmulgee City Council has been highly supportive of OSUIT’s efforts to acquire and develop property in the historic downtown district. They have made concessions to allow the maximum residential occupancy of the old post office complex being refurbished by OSUIT and provided valuable engineering data on the infrastructure systems that serve this part of town. And most recently, they voted to authorize the sale of an existing parking lot to OSUIT at the northwest corner of 5th Street and Central Avenue. In recent years, this lot has been used by the city for overflow parking when large events are held at City Hall on 4th Street. In addition, the council approved the sale of a vacant lot to OSUIT at the southeast corner of the same intersection. This double lot was acquired by the city years ago after a fire claimed a building along 6th Street.

Q: What is OSUIT’s commitment to Okmulgee with its downtown project?

In a corresponding response to the city’s offer to sell, the OSU Board of Regents authorized me to purchase these two properties from the City of Okmulgee. These properties will be improved and developed by OSUIT for the intended purpose of student/public parking. The paved lot on the northwest corner of the intersection contains 53 parking stalls and is adjacent to one of the buildings which will soon be renovated by OSUIT into loft apartments for up to 74 students. It is our intention to make concrete repairs, add new lighting, and enhance the general appearance of this area with new landscape elements. The vacant lot to the southeast will be paved by OSUIT and made into a 75 stall parking lot that will open to both 5th Street and 6th Street. Once developed, this lot will provide additional parking for students and free parking for the general public. New lighting and landscaping will be installed by OSUIT, and our engineers are also exploring the possibility of drilling a geothermal well field into the ground below this new parking lot to service a high-efficiency heating and cooling system for our loft apartments in the old post office complex.

Community development projects on this scale are difficult to accomplish without the assistance of those who are willing to work cooperatively. In our case, the City of Okmulgee has been an excellent partner for OSUIT, and I hope they would agree that OSUIT is also working with the greater public interest in mind. Together, we are going to make significant improvements to downtown Okmulgee in the vicinity of 5th and Central—and beyond. Please continue to forward your questions to me at osuit-president@okstate.edu.