Q&A - October 28, 2016

This past weekend, my wife and I had the distinct pleasure of attending the second annual Okmulgee Main Street 48 Hour Film Festival held at the Orpheum Theater. The Film Festival followed the 2016 Harvest Spoon Chili Fest in downtown Okmulgee and was the culmination of a wonderful day.

I extend my compliments to each of the local film makers on their extraordinary submissions this year. I was so impressed to see such top quality short films produced right here within our small community, and what made it even more impressive was the fact they were given only 48 hours to produce their films from start to finish. I was amazed by the level of creativity, storytelling, and cinematography. We have many, many talented people in this town and just as many reasons to be proud of Okmulgee.

I'm also proud of the progress on the downtown student housing project. So this week, I wanted to share another renovation update.

Q: It's so exciting to see construction equipment and workers at the old Post Office. What have they got done so far?

The arrival of the construction fencing around the Old Post Office Complex on the corner of 5th & Grand signaled the official start of the renovation of these majestic old buildings. Over the next eleven months, these structures will receive a complete makeover and be given new life. The first project on this jobsite was to send an abatement team through the property to remove any asbestos. Once the abatement work was successfully completed, the construction site was inspected and deemed safe for other workers. Demolition crews were given the “green light” to begin and made short work of strategically removing certain materials from the buildings.  

The demolition phase of this renovation was well-planned and methodical. It has been our intention from the beginning to preserve much of historical character and charm of these buildings and only to remove what is necessary.

The first floor layout of these buildings had always been retail (shops and businesses), but we are converting them into residential use (apartments), so demolition on this floor was extensive to make way for a completely new floor plan. But workers took special care to save any doors, moldings, and fixtures that could be reused in this or other renovation projects. The demolition on the second floor was much more selective and surgical because this level had always been residential and will remain residential. Many walls and finishes on the second floor are being preserved in place and will be incorporated into the new floor plan.

Several vintage items in these buildings are being repurposed within the new design. For instance, some of the old skylights from the roof will be reused as custom light fixtures, and an old fire door and barn door will be preserved as public wall art. 

Subcontractors will next be focusing their attention on plumbing drains, masonry repair, and roofing. With future submissions, I will try to keep you informed of progress, as work proceeds.

Your comments and questions about OSUIT and Okmulgee Rising are invited at osuit-president@okstate.edu.