A Seattle-based architecture firm will soon begin a study on how to get the most out of the Civic Center Music Hall, if the Oklahoma City Council approves the start of contract negotiations Tuesday as expected.
LMN Architects will need about three months to complete the study, barring any hiccups in the contract negotiation process, said Jim Brown, civic center manager. City officials chose LMN's bid from among 10 others after issuing a request for proposals for the study, which is intended to find the best ways to renovate the parts of the building that weren't redone as part of the original MAPS program.
One of LMN's areas of expertise should be particularly beneficial to the city, which wants to maximize the value of the secondary venues and uses of what former Mayor Kirk Humphreys routinely hails as the “crown jewel” of the original MAPS.
“They specialize in areas outside the main theater,” Brown said. “The Thelma Gaylord (Performing Arts) Theatre is one of the top acoustical halls in the United States. We're not touching it.”
The centerpiece theater and lobby area received extensive renovations during the original MAPS, and it draws some of the top performing arts acts for venues of its class.
But other parts haven't seen significant updates in years. An example is the Freede Little Theatre, a cozy and intimate space for smaller shows, which is dingy and in need of freshening up at the least.
LMN can decide what kinds of renovation plans, if any, could be worth it, Brown said.
The Civic Center Foundation and its supporters have also noted the success of secondary functions of other arts facilities in the area, such as the Museum Cafe at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. They see development potential in other areas of the building that are little-used.
“The study will create a master plan for the city and the foundation,” Brown said. “We can make the improvements to make sure we meet or exceed our customers' expectations.”