Officials Break Ground on Centennial Memorial Plaza

Article excerpt

A $3.6 million plaza project will bring color and history to the Capitol's south steps, officials said Wednesday at a dedication ceremony.

The ceremony came a few days after the topping of the new Capitol dome with The Guardian, a huge bronze statue of an American Indian that was designed by state Sen. Kelly Haney, D-Seminole.

Construction began immediately on the Centennial Memorial Plaza, which will feature red, pink and black granite, replacing a concrete area. The work is scheduled to be finished by Nov. 1.

"The construction will be completed just in time for Oklahoma's 95th anniversary of statehood and the dedication of the state Capitol dome, both taking place on November 16 of this year," said J. Blake Wade, executive director of the Oklahoma Centennial Commission.

The plaza will feature 28 granite rosettes designed after the state seal. They will commemorate 28 historical events in Oklahoma, such as the Land Run of 1889, statehood in 1907 and the moving of the Capitol from Guthrie to Oklahoma City in 1910. Federal highway beautification funds are being used to build the plaza.

"It is superb," Gov. Frank Keating said.

Visitors to the Capitol will be greeted by an area rich in color and history instead of drab, gray concrete, he said.

The plaza is one of almost 200 projects of the Centennial Commission, which is planning for the state's 100th birthday in 2007. Paul Meyer, state architect, designed the plaza, which will be built by Haskell Lemon Construction of Oklahoma City. The statues now in the plaza area will remain and will be surrounded by granite benches.

Meyer said the Washington Tree on the west side of the plaza area will be protected during construction. Seeds from the original tree in Mount Vernon were brought to Oklahoma and planted at the Capitol in 1930.

Besides the plaza remodeling, an additional $1.5 million in state and federal funds are being spent to make Americans with Disabilities Act compliance modifications at the Capitol.

Choosing software

EDS, which operates the Oklahoma Health Care Authority's Medicaid program, has bought a predictive fraud and abuse detection system from HNC Software, a provider of high-end analytics and decision management software.

"For years, HNC Payment Optimizer has been instrumental in helping EDS identify millions of dollars worth of fraudulent claims for our clients," said Frank Abramcheck, president of EDS' Administrative Process Management Delivery Group. "The technology detects patterns that other methods miss, enabling us to find new fraud schemes faster and refer cases with the highest likelihood of recovery."

More than 400,000 Oklahoma residents receive services from about 22,000 health care providers who participate in the state's Medicaid program.

The preferred provider

Williams Communications Group has signed a streaming media services agreement with TheGolfChannel.com , the leading online provider of golf news, instruction, information and services and a division of The Golf Channel. Under the terms of the agreement, Williams Communications will be TheGolfChannel.com's preferred provider for streaming golf-related audio and video content.

Through its various streaming media offerings, Tulsa-based Williams Communications moves more than 63 million audio and video streams over its network on a monthly basis.

Now open in Tulsa

Fiserv has opened a check-processing center in Tulsa, as well as one in Richmond, Va. Ken Acheson, president of the Fiserv Check Processing Division,

said the new centers help to meet a growing need for image-based check processing.

"Fiserv has committed to a national image strategy that will provide access to imaging services for all our clients. Tulsa and Richmond are two new areas where our account processing clients, in addition to other area banks, are looking for an image solution for their check processing," Acheson said. …