Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: CareATC Headquarters

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: CareATC Headquarters

Article excerpt

TULSA - CareATC faced a classic question with its new Corporate Woods office park headquarters: How do you bring new life to an old data center?

The Tulsa-based workplace clinic operator came up with this solution: install a dozen skylights to open up the closed area, with wide walkways, plentiful glass within the interior walls, and an indoor garden carved out of the 2-foot elevated floor.

"They've got one of the coolest spaces in the whole city," said Jared Andresen, managing director of Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort's Tulsa office, which handles leasing for the 569,000- square-foot Corporate Woods complex. "It's amazing what creative minds can do."

Those elevated floors signal the age and intent of that portion of Corporate Woods, which Occidental Petroleum built in the early 1980s to serve as its Tulsa research and data center. While such floors provide advantages accessing plumbing, wires or other infrastructure, they also can create bouncy echo chambers that may unnerve some workers. Cooling and security issues also meant such facilities lacked windows, which can irritate employees.

"I'm an individual that gets really claustrophobic," CareATC Chief Executive Philip Kurtz said. "I don't like to go into restaurants that don't have windows."

For Keith Gucwa, who normally designs CareATC clinics, the 2012 headquarters move to 4500 S. 129th East Avenue, Suite 191, provided a nice change of pace.

"To me, it was just a blank canvas," said Gucwa, director of purchasing and facilities. "It was an interior space, so I used skylights. I used acoustic clouds to control the noise bouncing around, so it didn't sound like a cave."

The centerpiece garden injects a park setting and sounds to the 15,000-square-foot office.

"We refer to it as the Pit," said Gucwa, referring to its sunken nature.

Descending to the foundation, the Pit builds its focus around a 16-foot ficus tree that rises under a 5-by-12-foot skylight. …

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