The National Weather Center at the University of Oklahoma
Fliegler, Caryn Meyers, University Business
COLLABORATION BETWEEN STUDENTS, RESEARCHERS, AND OPERATIONS personnel is critical to the scientific pipeline. When the work at hand involves fast-moving storms, putting minds together can be life-or-death. The National Weather Center, located on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, provides integrated spaces that are technologically equipped for high-impact weather analysis.
* FUNCTION: Education, training, operations, and research space for OU'S weather and climate programs and for various offices of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
* PROBLEMS: Limited space for the university's renowned weather programs and for NOAA capped growth, while separate buildings for the university and government programs impeded collaboration. The movement to create a joint center began decades ago and was moved forward by top university administrators as well as higher-ups at NOAA, but funding sources did not fully emerge until after Oklahoma suffered the largest tornado outbreak of its history on May 3, 1999. The storm cells killed nearly 50 people, injured hundreds more, and wrecked homes and businesses across a swath of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas.
* SOLUTIONS: The 244,000-square-foot center, dubbed the "mecca of meteorology," provides five floors of offices, classrooms, labs, forecast centers, and instrument shops, and a rooftop outdoor classroom and enclosed weather observation deck. …