EDMOND — Big changes in downtown Edmond could begin as early as next week as demolition gets under way in preparation for construction of a public safety center.
City officials are waiting for the last utility company to complete its work before demolition crews can begin tearing down the old Chase drive-thru bank, on the northwest corner of Second Street and Littler Avenue, as well as the former Tammy's Laundry and a building where a playground business once operated, both at Littler and Hurd Street.
The demolition will make way for construction of a 70,000-square-foot building at 100 E First St., the new home for police headquarters, 911 communications and emergency management operations.
The construction period might be trying at times for people who visit or work in the downtown area.
Driving routes will be altered as streets are closed and the parking situation will become tougher for those venturing downtown.
“Traffic and parking will be an issue,” said Randy Drew, city project coordinator. “I will have 75 to 100 construction workers on site every day.”
City staff members are working on plans for what streets will be closed.
“We will not close down the streets until we have too,” Drew said. “We will wait to the last minute before we close a street down.
“We ask people to be patient. In the end, it will be worth it.”
The end will be in January 2015 when the public safety center is scheduled for completion.
Save the trees
Trees at the old Chase Bank drive-thru have been examined and flagged with orange tape to let construction workers know which ones city officials want to save and those they want to move from the property where the public safety center's geothermal heating and cooling system will be located.
Ryan Ochsner, the city's urban forestry coordinator, said the verdict is still out on whether the larger tree can be saved.
“It is nice to have nature in the dense urban area,” Ochsner said. “These trees are important.”
Five or six yaupon holly trees will be moved to the median on Chowning Avenue, he said.
Final plan work
The architectural plans, which could be about 100 pages with more than 1,000 more pages of specifications, should be about 95 percent complete by Friday.
City staff from several departments and architects Frankfort Short Bruza, and consultants McClaren, Wilson and Lawrie, will go over the plans, which could take up to three weeks, Drew said.
Plans are to send out bid packages on March 2, so city council members could award a construction contract at their May 13 meeting, said City Manager Larry Stevens.
Voters on Oct. 11, 2011, approved a half-cent sales tax increase for five years to build the public safety center and a second building for the crime laboratory and evidence and vehicle storage. The buildings are expected to meet the city's needs for 20 years.
Costs estimates for the two buildings, furnishings and equipment are expected to top $32 million.
The new three-story public safety center will be constructed on the southeast corner of First Street and Littler Avenue, the location of the administration building that was a parking garage before it was renovated into city offices.
The final phase of the demolition process will take place after about 50 administration employees move out of the building when renovation of their temporary offices is completed at 7 N Broadway.
Information technology employees are moving into a new, permanent home on the southwest corner of Danforth Road and Broadway. The 6,240-square-foot building at 1273 N Broadway also is being renovated.
Information technology employees, about 16, and all the city equipment now in three locations throughout the city will move to the renovated building. Some of the employees work in the administration building and others in the Downtown Community Center.
Renovations at both buildings are expected to be completed by Thursday, said Ross VanderHamm, city finance director and city clerk.
VanderHamm estimates it could take about a week to move from the administration building to the temporary office space.
The second building for storage and the crime lab will be constructed on city-owned property just west of 33rd and Broadway. The James H. Harrod Vehicle Maintenance Facility was once on the property.
Midwest Wrecking of Oklahoma will recondition the old vehicle maintenance building and tear down the old animal welfare building, on Third Street just west of Broadway, as part of the $99,770 demolition contract.