The Civic Center Music Hall renovation has been long considered one of the gems of Oklahoma City's MAPS programs. A study to get under way soon will look for ways to polish the parts that don't yet shine.
Oklahoma City and the Civic Center Foundation will split the cost of a $100,000 study to help form a master plan for the building, which had a major renovation to the main performance hall, lobby and other areas in the original MAPS. The study is designed to find ways to increase the center's revenue potential and competitiveness in future years.
“I look at it like a master plan to identify our short-term weaknesses and the long-term best uses of all our space,” said Jim Brown, the Civic Center's manager.
The city council voted this week to pay up to $50,000 for the study, and the Civic Center Foundation will pick up the rest. The city is soliciting bids to conduct the study.
A major focus of the study will be the secondary performance venues in the building, some of which are underused, and parts of the facility that aren't used at all, said Carol Troy, chairman of the Civic Center Foundation's board. Those parts of the building weren't renovated during MAPS because the money ran out sooner than expected.
“Some of the facilities aren't being used at all or are minimally used because they're still in 1930s condition,” she said.
“What we're going to be focusing our attention on is the areas that are underutilized, and how do we maximize them?”
An example is the Freede Little Theatre, a 286-person theater that looks much as it did 80 years ago.
It's a cozy venue with obvious potential, but its dinginess and dank interior stands in sharp contrast to the glitz of the MAPS-renovated Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre, the building's main performance venue.