Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Manhattan Construction Signed for First Phase of History Center

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Manhattan Construction Signed for First Phase of History Center

Article excerpt

Chairman L.F. Rooney III of Manhattan Construction and Oklahoma Historical Society Executive Director Bob Blackburn have signed a $16.39 million contract for Manhattan to build the first phase of the new Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.

Manhattan Construction won the contract with the low bid through the Oklahoma Department of Central Services.

The first phase of the $52 million History Center will include construction of the outer shell and site work. The 200,000-square- foot building on 17.28 acres will include a new Oklahoma Museum of History, Research Center and Historical Society offices.

"The new History Center will become a major new attraction for the community and an anchor for redevelopment of NE 23rd Street. It also will combine with the new State Capitol Dome to redefine the State Capitol Complex as the centerpiece of the crossroads of Oklahoma and the nation," Blackburn said.

Construction, scheduled to begin by Dec. 1 on the first phase, is expected to take 16 to 18 months for the entire History Center.

"By the end of phase one, we hope to have started on phase two, which is the interior, the exhibits and the grounds themselves," Blackburn said. "If we keep everything on schedule, we should finish construction in the fall of 2003."

After moving the collections and getting all of the exhibits up and running, the center should open to the public that following spring, he added.

An architectural team of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum of St. Louis and Beck Associates of Oklahoma City and Tulsa designed the new History Center that will feature a limestone and granite highlighted exterior. The structure will blend with the State Capitol and the current Wiley Post Historical Building, which will be redeveloped by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

A curved-design will "embrace" the State Capitol, according to Blackburn.

"We selected the site because we wanted to be close to the Capitol because the Capitol is one symbol of unity of the entire state," he said.

Haley Sharpe Design Ltd. of London and New York is designing the exhibits for the new State Museum.

The new History Center will feature 32,000 square feet of exhibit space in the Oklahoma Museum of History, which will face the State Capitol. Exhibits will focus on the people, cultures, historical events and historical places of Oklahoma, plus 19,000 square feet of artifact storage and space to design and build exhibits. …

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