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Historic Central High School targeted for new school administration building

The historic former Central High School may soon return to the Oklahoma City Public Schools system as it seeks to acquire the landmark for its administrative offices.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: May 3, 2012

/articleid/3671950/1/pictures/1710364">Photo - The old Central High School building is seen on Robinson Avenue in downtown Oklahoma City.  Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman
The old Central High School building is seen on Robinson Avenue in downtown Oklahoma City. Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman

The former Central High School, meanwhile, has 300 parking spaces and was renovated by Southwestern Bell Telephone in 1984 into offices. That renovation won several national design and rehabilitation awards and was one of the first major examples in Oklahoma of historic preservation using tax credits.

One Bell Central

The building's designer, Solomon Andrew Layton, is widely considered to have been one of the state's pioneering architects, and also designed the Skirvin Hilton, the Oklahoma County Courthouse and the Oklahoma State Capitol.

The building was known as One Bell Central until 2005, when it was sold to Oklahoma Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Co. The company listed the property for sale in 2010 after determining it needed less space.

Springer said the support by the tax increment finance review committee was important not just financially, but symbolically as well.

“This basically says the city of Oklahoma City and the larger community support this kind of effort,” Springer said. “And it takes a coalition to make this sort of a move.”

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's...
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The current headquarters

If the Oklahoma City Public Schools administrative operations relocate to the old Central High School, superintendent Karl Springer believes the current headquarters at NW 9 and Klein, a former junior high school, could once again see students filling its hallways. Potential reuses include existing charter schools seeking more space or a school that caters to the district's growing Hispanic-speaking population.


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