Bozalis, 85, was a partner in the firm that designed the $23
Today, the Myriad has become the scapegoat of the city's
Metropolitan Area Projects.
Oklahoma City Council members have continuously derided the
building as poorly designed and built. The criticism is especially
harsh when contractors tell the city that they have discovered more
problems and that additional work is needed in renovation.
Bozalis has closely followed the progress on MAPS. He insists
the building has served its purpose well for 25 years.
The retired architect dismisses comments from Oklahoma City
Council members who want to go after original designers and
builders to recoup some of today's renovation costs.
Bozalis said the current work on the convention center is needed
because Oklahoma City did little serious maintenance since 1972
when the building opened.
He said the building has played host to thousands of
conventions, shows and sporting events during its lifetime.
Bozalis said he is "absolutely" proud of the building's history,
and he believes it has done "exactly" what it was built to do.
The building's design and construction were unique at the time
because post-tension cables, the method used to support its roof
and framework, had not been tried on such a large scale.
Bozalis keeps a scrapbook of photographs that show the
step-by-step process builders followed to erect the Myriad.
The foundation for the building and its parking garage
underneath were the first portions of construction completed by
contractor H.A. Lott Inc. of Houston.
Support columns next were precast on the floor of the building -
really two separate buildings, the arena and west-side exhibit
halls, joined together. The trusses, which also were precast on the
building site, were hoisted into place using hydraulic lifts.
The trusses make up the roof, suspended between the columns that
make up the main walls of the buildings. They are supported by
strands of heavy gage cable that are several inches in diameter.
Bozalis admitted the Myriad's construction design was
controversial at the time because the first roof truss built by the
contractor did not meet strength limits and had to be scrapped.
H.A. Lott, which is no longer in business, has been blamed for
many of today's renovation problems. City council members also have
suggested someone might have intentionally lost the Myriad's
But Bozalis credits H.A. Lott for being innovative in the way it
built the convention center.
Bozalis' firm of Bozalis, Dickinson, Roloff also designed lodges
at Oklahoma's Fountainhead and Arrowhead resorts, the Sequoyah and
Will Rogers buildings at the state Capitol, Kerr Park, Leadership
Square, the Sonic Building and Citizens Bank and Tower at NW 23 and
The Myriad renovation and expansion is almost 50 percent
complete. Bozalis' walk through the main north entrance his company
designed will probably be his last.
Under the current project, the Myriad's north entrance will be
removed next week. Visitors will have to enter through two new
northeast and northwest wings that have been under construction
since last summer.
Bozalis said he also believes the city has made the right
decision moving the garage entrances to the east and west sides.
The west garage entrance is due to be open by July 1. The east
entrance will be open by Aug. 1.
Bozalis also got a glimpse of the site across the street from
the Myriad where Missouri developer John Q. Hammons will build a
$35 million Marriott hotel. Work on that building is due to start
by July 1.
Bozalis said the work on the Myriad and other projects funded by
the 1-cent Metropolitan Area Projects sales tax excite him.
"If we are going to grow and move here, we have to do what we
are doing now so we can get back into the game."