The former Central National Bank building at 615 N Classen is being proposed as a candidate for the new home of the Oklahoma City Public Schools administrative offices.
The Oklahoma City Public Schools board unanimously approved Monday night entering into a purchase agreement for the building. The negotiated cost of the building is $2.3 million dollars with an additional $2.5 million expected in renovation costs, moving expenses and the purchase of new furniture.
The district will use $3.3 million in MAPS funding and request Tax Increment Finance (TIF) dollars to offset some renovation costs.
“The 615 N. Classen site is truly the best option for relocating the district’s administration building,” board chairwoman Lynne Hardin said. “ The site is centrally located for our families; it has the space to accommodate the staff and is cost effective. If it goes according to plan, we will spend $570,000 in district funds compared to a more than $6 million dollar estimated cost to the district to construct a new building.”
The next vote was scheduled for Tuesday by the Metropolitan Area Public Schools Trust, which oversees expenditures of the MAPS for Kids funds that will be used for the purchase.
“It’s about 40,000 square feet,” said interim schools Superintendent Dave Lopez. “From the reviews we’ve gotten so far, it looks like it has good bones and would lend itself to the open office arrangement we’re looking for.” The property is also within the downtown tax increment financing district, which allows the school system to use additional money from those tax collections for the purchase and any needed renovations.
The building was built in 1978 as Central National Bank’s original longtime downtown home. It was targeted for acquisition and demolition as part of the Urban Renewal Pei Plan. The bank was acquired and turned into a branch by BancOne. The bank closed by the early 2000s, and the property was then sold in 2005 to a partnership led by developer Chip Fudge.
Fudge sold the building a year later but his Claims Management Resources company remained a tenant until it moved to Film Row in 2013. Fudge said the building is in good shape and has ample attached surface parking.
Karl Springer, the former superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools, previously sought to acquire the old Central High School, 800 N Harvey. Oklahoma City University out-bid the city school system and is converting the landmark into a new home for its law school.
Oklahoma City Public Schools administrators say their current location, a former middle school at NW 8 and Klein, is in disrepair and would be too expensive to fix and bring up to modern standards.
From the reviews we’ve gotten so far, it looks like it has good bones and would lend itself to the open office arrangement we’re looking for.”
Interim schools superintendent